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"The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
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VerucaSalt 1577 desperate attention whore postings
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02-05-13, 12:39 PM (EST)
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"The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"

It seems ages ago that our Fans v. Favorites (version 1) was aired and Parvati showed the audience she learned a thing or two from her prior season. Her girls powered their way through the rest of the cast and also allowed three returning players to be at the end.

I spent quite a bit of time during that season questioning the “new” players as one would think that the demise of returning players should be a predominating goal. Ironically, the first episode title You Guys Are Dumber Than You Look took on new meaning as we saw the girls make dummies out of the guys selected in that season and it was refreshing to see a female alliance dominate.

Since this time, I have been waiting to see (on those seasons featuring returning players) new contestants immediately eliminate the returning players just on sheer principle! Yet time and time again, at least one veteran manages to circumvent their way to the end game. Thus, I fully expect this to happen this season. While my love for editing prevails, I am also a factual person and statistics show that we are more than likely going to see at least one veteran at end game especially since they are consolidated on one tribe initially and could always dominate in challenge performances to keep their numbers alive.

If the vets are smart, they will make sure there is more than one at the end game as well. Depending on the makeup of the jury and who they are there with, we may possibly see another “favorite” win the title.

I was a little less than overwhelmed at the selection of those asked to return; some were barely a blip on my radar and like other seasons, there are one or two candidates that will probably spearhead the visibility factor but I’d be hard pressed to believe they will do well ultimately. Brandon and Phillip seem like fairly obvious candidates to return (although the term “favorite” would not really be the appropriate adjective) due to their “entertainment” value but since they are not mixed in with fans, I have trouble seeing the other vets dealing with them on a long term basis. Insofar as the others, time will tell.

Naturally, this thread welcomes the viewpoint from an editing standpoint and those posting in here have always been very respectful regarding the omission of sourced information and after all these seasons, let me again thank everyone for respecting my “unspoiled” editing eye.

The tribes are:

Andrea – Redemption Island – age 23 – NY: Andrea was interesting in her season; she was a star that wasn’t a star and I’m not sure if I can describe it better than that. Potential was there but a break out role did not really happen. Her physical capabilities and decent personality may help her to stay the course for some time and even though Francesca and Phillip were both on her season, there was no true connection with them that would automatically have me assuming there is a built in alliance although I would not be surprised that at least one of them doesn’t immediately try do so.

Brandon – South Pacific – age 21 – TX: What does one say about Brandon. Despite what he brought to the television table, I’m frankly surprised the powers that be would risk his being on the show as the editing made it very clear on his season that stability is not part of his makeup. That being said, we will probably know fairly quickly if he is still cut from that same cloth and either he will be gone very early or we may see some contestants feel that he is worth the crazy to benefit their own game.

Brenda – Nicaragua – age 30 – FL: Brenda was a popular contestant to viewers although I don’t remember being overly impressed with her and can’t say whether anything will change with this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the likes of Malcolm or Erik or John have a little flirtation with her and her physical capabilities may serve her better over some other contestants.

Corinne – Gabon – age 33 – CA: Looking back, Corinne’s attitude is not nearly as potent as it seemed to be back then. Since Gabon, we have seen bigger and better so I’m not sure what Corinne will really be about this season. We may actually see a different side to Corinne but it is amazing that in Survivor terms, she looks outdated. Should Corinne be the "mean girl" I wouldn't expect her to stick around very long considering the makeup of this group.

Dawn – South Pacific – age 42: Utah – Dawn was a popular contestant on her season and despite her being the “eldest” female, she was not an early boot. Considering her temperament, it would not be unlikely that she does rather well among her fellow vet players and she already has two players that she knows from her season so she may have an automatic buffer at the onset. However, should there be any missteps in challenges where she is a direct cause for a loss, she may be vulnerable. I would hesitate to think that however since we have some very polarizing characters on this tribe who may be a more attractive option to boot than Dawn.

Erik – Micronesia – age 27 – CA: Poor Erik – best known for a move that is herald as the dumbest in the history of Survivor, I can’t fathom that we won’t hear about it from his own mouth on the first episode and a bold statement from him that he will not allow that same mistake to happen again. I recall that a huge premise of returning players is the thematic approach of whether someone will repeat their earlier mistakes or fine tune how they play the game. If anyone needs to redeem themselves, Erik is our man and whether he does or not, remains to be seen. He certainly has the personality that will get along with mostly everyone but that also doesn’t mean he will be able to change an inherent part of his personality. It will be interesting to see if Erik learned or not.

Francesca – Redemption Island – age 38 – NY – Although she shared a season with Andrea and Phillip, she barely had time to settle in before she was gone from the game. In the scheme of the makeup of this tribe, I don’t expect her to fare much better this time around.

John – South Pacific – age 25 – Washington, DC – I never felt such a strange reaction as I did with this contestant. The manipulation of his character was overwhelming; as much as I tried to pull out some measure of empathy for him as the edit did intend at times, I was immediately overwhelmed by a dislike at the same time. There is no question that John adores this game and it would be devastating for me as a fan of the show that someone like John (a real fan) doesn’t go back and dissect the blatant atrocities in their game. While I do believe John is smart enough to do that (it also certainly helps that Dawn is there with him) like Erik, will John be capable of rectifying his past mistakes? Time will tell but with other fish to fry first on this tribe, he may be in a decent position. I will be interested in seeing how he and Erik get along as in many ways, they are similar and could be allies as well.

Malcom – Phillppines – age 25 – CA: Malcolm was extremely popular last season and for good reason. He was athletic and a hard worker with a very nice personality. This should serve him extremely well UNTIL both tribes become one tribe. Like most young, athletic males, the target gets bigger when merger occurs because nobody wants to go to the end with someone like that and are scared they can win challenge after challenge and get to the end. I presume that these contestants do not know how he fared due to filming but common sense dictates they will believe that he is either a very popular character and/or did extremely well in his season. Either way, one may assume we will hear the “he is too much of a threat” talk about Malcolm and this usually occurs around merger.

Phillip – Redemption Island – age 54 – CA: Notwithstanding any possible entertainment value Phillip holds, there is no Rob Mariano this time around and despite what he thinks otherwise, Rob was Phillip’s safety net. Regardless of two other members from his old season, Phillip’s polarizing personality is going to eventually be too much to bear; it’s just a question of when. I don’t even know if anyone will tolerate keeping him as a “goat” as his overbearing ways probably won’t fly this season.

On that note – there are viable candidates to stay the course this season with possible long term success and the dynamics on this tribe actually seem fairly obvious on paper. I would be more inclined to see those with more to say not fare as well as contestants such as Andrea, Malcolm, Dawn and Erik would probably not welcome a lot of antics. Even though Brenda and John are a bit more on the vocal side, they are still not even close to personalities such as Phillip, Brandon and Corinne and I would suspect quiet may be key.


From a cursory glance, this group doesn’t seem very diverse but over the years, it’s inevitable that casting has their ideas for reality shows. I would suggest that, like past seasons, the usual reasons for booting someone may come into play. Who lost the challenge for them? Who is a little too overbearing at camp? Who appears to be making too many deal too quickly? We should be able to see the “set up” fairly quickly as character development for the first boot must be done as soon as possible.

Alexandra – age 25 – NY: Cute girl but it wouldn’t be Survivor without them and cute girls normally don’t have any worries this early on. Unless something unforeseeable occurs, Alexandra (as well as some other cute girls on this tribe) should have no reason to be worried at the onset of the game. We may see the always popular “I’m young and cute and can’t handle the elements” or “I’m young and cute therefore let’s be lazy” situation but on paper, one can’t judge the young, cute girls until their edit is displayed.

Edward – age 23 – NJ: Two East Coast players around the same age could be an immediate alliance. Like all young, athletic men, challenge performance is everything. If the tribe needs Edward to win, Edward will stay for the short term at least. Barring the typical obnoxious behavior that we have seen from some young, male contestants, he should also be in a fairly decent position. Merger is always the danger zone for these contestants so his edit being shaped for us in earlier episodes can help determine if he isn’t meant for the long haul.

Hope – age 23 – Missouri : Another cute girl candidate and not much more can be said for Hope as was said for Alexandra. One cannot predict any sense of longevity for these types of characters until the episodes flesh out so by virtue of her description, she appears to be on the lower end of first boot candidates.

Julia – age 21 – California: I am anxiously typing so I may at least be able to state something relatively original since we have yet another young, pretty female who, to the “naked editing eye” has no alarm bells going off as leaving our screens immediately. Like the others above, the first episode will tell the tale to see where her edit is headed. See the two descriptions under our first young, cute girl to look out for.

Laura – age 23 – Washington DC – Please refer to Alexandra, Hope and Julia for further information. Perhaps this foursome try and stick together as some type of girl power? Unfortunately, we have also seen girl power go down the toilet quite often.

Matt – age 38-Ohio: The physical appearance alone tells us why he was selected by the powers that be. This type of selection either fizzles fast or does surprisingly well; either way, should his looks go hand in hand with his characterization, Matt will be milked by the editing until his time is over. On paper, he may be in early trouble but a lot depends on whether his persona is the quirky, entertaining “let’s keep him around” character or the obnoxious, overbearing, “he thinks he is fun and he’s not” character. He is also one of the “older” ones (please note that 38 is not old but in Survivor context, it could very well be) so it will be interesting to see if the older members (Michael and Sherri) find themselves as a minority. Perhaps Shamar joins that fold as well and possibly even Reynold as well.

Michael – 44 – NY: Like Matt, Michael is on the “older” spectrum so if he is what is perceived as the direct result of their tribe losing any challenges, he could be an easy sacrifice. The tribes always try to look for an obvious reason to boot someone and challenge performance is the easy way out. Depending on how he gets along with the other members is obviously key as any “older” member can do very well as long as they are not the direct result of a tribe losing time and time again.

Reynold – 30 – CA: By appearances alone, Reynold seems like we either have a real charmer or someone who will be recognized by their arrogance immediately. Looks can be deceiving as we know so until we really see him in the flesh, the jury is out on Reynold. He is a little older that he could do very well with the slightly older crowd on his tribe and young enough to relate to the younger members as well. He could conceivably play both sides nicely and if he is as fit as he appears to be, he should help them for challenges. Once again, merger is key for someone like Reynold and he may be viewed as an obvious threat.

Shamar – age 27 – NY: Another East Coast contestant, Shamar, despite his 27 years appears to look a little older and being a veteran, probably has an “older” persona as well. He is in a minority being the only African American on his tribe and while my brief view of a picture of him shows that he looks formidable, sometimes “bulkier” males have some trouble with certain challenges. Naturally this is speculative at best but Shamar may have some trouble depending upon that military background. If Shamar tends to have an exaggerated authoritarian role, it may be off putting. Once again, the first tribe boot is a result of either challenge mistakes, overbearing demeanor to the rest of the tribe, health issues and so forth. We will know if Shamar runs into any of those issues right away.

Sherri – age 41 – Idaho: The older/younger woman who can put the young women to shame physically but hopefully act her age. The older woman on a tribe can do extremely well IF they don’t try to act too much like a real mother. Sherri can be the “mentor” to the young girls but mix nicely with the older sect as well and quite a lot of mature women who are physically fit can be quite successful as for some reason they are still not truly viewed as a threat since their male counterparts seem that much more threatening. Thee does not appear to be any major reason to suspect Sherri would be in any immediate danger with her tribe and could conceivably escape the “merger threat boot” since there are physically fit males that would appear more threatening than she could be.

All told, I am not overly impressed with the new contestants either. However, one really cannot know these players until their edit is fleshed out so we may be pleasantly surprised and I do not like to pre-judge based on very limited information.

Please provide any of your wonderful insight and I look forward to reading your entries this season.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 02-05-13 1
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... Flowerpower 02-18-13 9
       RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 02-18-13 10
 Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster michel 02-16-13 2
   RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Fa... Round Robin 02-17-13 3
       RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Fa... michel 02-17-13 5
   RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Fa... suzzee 02-17-13 4
       RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Fa... michel 02-17-13 6
           RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Fa... Round Robin 02-18-13 7
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... Flowerpower 02-18-13 8
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 02-18-13 11
 S26 Episode 1 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 02-19-13 12
 S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 02-23-13 13
   RE: S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thought... dabo 02-23-13 14
       RE: S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thought... Estee 02-23-13 15
   Episode 2 - They Came To Play: michel 02-23-13 16
       RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play: dabo 02-23-13 17
           RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play: michel 02-23-13 18
               RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play: dabo 02-23-13 19
                   RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play: michel 02-23-13 20
                       RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play: dabo 02-23-13 21
 Episode 3 - A Poker Game michel 03-02-13 22
   RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game AaronLittleton 03-03-13 23
       RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game michel 03-03-13 24
           RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game AaronLittleton 03-03-13 25
               RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game PepeLePew13 03-04-13 26
                   RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game AaronLittleton 03-04-13 27
                       RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game dabo 03-04-13 28
 RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... PepeLePew13 03-08-13 29
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... dabo 03-08-13 30
   RE: The Players, The Game, The Edit... michel 03-09-13 32
 Episode 3: Have - Have Nots michel 03-09-13 31
   RE: Episode 3: Have - Have Nots parathor 03-13-13 33
   RE: Episode 3: Have - Have Nots suzzee 03-13-13 34
 Post-Breakdown Thoughts Bebo 03-14-13 35
 Episode 5 - The Turning Point michel 03-16-13 36
   RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point suzzee 03-16-13 37
       RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point michel 03-17-13 38
           RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point CTgirl 03-17-13 39
 S26 Episode 6 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 03-23-13 40
   Episode 6 - Flipping michel 03-23-13 41
       RE: Episode 6 - Flipping PepeLePew13 03-23-13 42
           RE: Episode 6 - Flipping puzzled11 03-24-13 43
           RE: Episode 6 - Flipping michel 03-24-13 44
       RE: Episode 6 - Flipping AaronLittleton 03-24-13 45
           RE: Episode 6 - Flipping michel 03-24-13 46
               RE: Episode 6 - Flipping AaronLittleton 03-25-13 48
       RE: Episode 6 - Flipping Murphy3126 03-24-13 47
           RE: Episode 6 - Flipping parathor 03-25-13 49
               RE: Episode 6 - Flipping Murphy3126 03-25-13 50
 Episode 7 - Delusions: michel 03-29-13 51
   RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: parathor 04-01-13 52
   RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: Murphy3126 04-02-13 53
   RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: Murphy3126 04-02-13 54
   RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: suzzee 04-09-13 60
 S26 Episode 8 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 04-05-13 55
   Episode 8 - The Decision-Makers michel 04-06-13 56
       Opinion on "tailor-made" comment Chillicrab 04-09-13 57
           RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" commen... dabo 04-09-13 58
               RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" commen... Belle Book 04-09-13 59
           RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" commen... michel 04-09-13 62
               RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" commen... jobgirl 04-10-13 63
       RE: Episode 8 - The Decision-Maker... suzzee 04-09-13 61
 S26 Episode 9 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 04-13-13 64
   Episode 9 - Tomfoolery michel 04-13-13 65
       RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery puzzled11 04-13-13 66
           RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery michel 04-14-13 68
       RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery dabo 04-13-13 67
           RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery parathor 04-14-13 69
               RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery michel 04-14-13 70
                   RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery parathor 04-16-13 71
 Episode 10 - A World of Total Paran... michel 04-20-13 72
   S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts AaronLittleton 04-21-13 73
       RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... suzzee 04-21-13 78
           RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... AaronLittleton 04-22-13 80
       RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... michel 04-22-13 81
           RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... chemig521 04-22-13 82
               RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... AaronLittleton 04-22-13 84
           RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... AaronLittleton 04-22-13 83
               RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... michel 04-23-13 85
               RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Though... AaronLittleton 04-26-13 86
   RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total P... AaronLittleton 04-21-13 74
   RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total P... dabo 04-21-13 75
       RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total P... michel 04-21-13 76
           RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total P... dabo 04-21-13 79
   RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total P... suzzee 04-21-13 77
 Episode 11 - Delicious! michel 04-26-13 87
   RE: Episode 11 - Delicious! dabo 04-27-13 88
       RE: Episode 11 - Delicious! michel 04-27-13 89
   RE: Episode 11 - Delicious! suzzee 05-06-13 95
 Episode 12 - Timing: michel 05-04-13 90
   RE: Episode 12 - Timing: jobgirl 05-04-13 91
   RE: Episode 12 - Timing: AaronLittleton 05-05-13 92
       RE: Episode 12 - Timing: michel 05-05-13 93
           RE: Episode 12 - Average Viewer: jobgirl 05-05-13 94
               RE: Episode 12 - Average Viewer: AaronLittleton 05-08-13 98
           RE: Episode 12 - Timing: AaronLittleton 05-08-13 97
               RE: Episode 12 - Timing: Belle Book 05-08-13 100
                   RE: Episode 12 - Timing: PepeLePew13 05-08-13 101
                       RE: Episode 12 - Timing: Belle Book 05-08-13 102
   RE: Episode 12 - Timing: suzzee 05-07-13 96
       RE: Episode 12 - Timing: AaronLittleton 05-08-13 99
 Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Game michel 05-10-13 103
   RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... dabo 05-10-13 104
       RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... chemig521 05-11-13 106
       RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... michel 05-11-13 107
           RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... dabo 05-11-13 109
   RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... Round Robin 05-11-13 105
       RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... michel 05-11-13 108
           RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... dabo 05-11-13 110
           RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... suzzee 05-12-13 111
               RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... Round Robin 05-12-13 112
   RE: Episode 13 - This Is A Crazy Ga... AaronLittleton 05-12-13 113

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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02-05-13, 09:42 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
Hello Veruca, it's really nice to read your early take on these players.

As for me, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate as one of the bloggers on Rob Cesternino's website and I had a roundtable with the other bloggers there on the players.
I'd like to share with you what I wrote:

Looking back at the first version of Fan versus Favorites, we can remember two main Themes: “The Fans are Dumb” and “The Favorites will have to Improve their Game to Win.”

The first theme, introduced by Fairplay in the very title of the first episode, was reinforced in the way the Fans were presented: The two shelters, the division, Joel’s powerplay and their reaction when they finally received the favorites’ help with their shelter after the switch. The Fans were portrayed as negatively as any tribe with the possible exception of Fang. It was easy to see that they would be annihilated.

The favorites’ theme was introduced in a confessional by Alexis: “…we have the favorites…they’re coming in here with the experience but at the same time you have us and we know their game, we know, not only their strengths but their weaknesses too.”

From there, we knew to look for players that would show improvement over their original season, that would be more than what the fans expected.

That soon led us to Parvati. She introduced herself by saying: “Coming back, I’m playing really aggressively and it’s pretty much no holds barred for me… I have to win this time, it’s my second time. I’m not coming back here to starve and be miserable. I was a flirt on Cook Islands and that’s it.”

She had mostly floated by during Cook Islands but we soon saw that she had become a schemer. When the locals came as part of a reward, we saw Parvati learning their tricks and becoming more of a Survivor than the girl who couldn’t clean a fish without cutting her fingers. More telling, when the rain came and the new Airai was miserable, we saw that Parvati wasn’t complaining, instead she was shown laughing. She truly hadn’t come back to be miserable.

Even if this season has the same format, we can expect new themes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more talk about mingling with the other side. The first time, the players probably expected that Malakal and Airai would stay the same until the merge but they will now know that there could be more power to gain by making an alliance with the other side. It certainly is something that will require our attention.

The Favorites(?) don’t have a single true leader or at least one that played the role of leader in their orginal tribes. That is a first because, when we have a tribe full of returning players, we usually have too many leaders. For example, Mogo Mogo had Lex, Hatch, Colby and Kathy making it difficult to function as a united tribe. Whatching the Favorites’(?) dynamics will be very interesting and we should keep an eye on how the eventual leaders are portrayed. Will we have 1 leader shown to make all the right decisions like Tom in Koror? Will we have a fractured tribe like the Villains which was mostly about Rob versus Russell? My hypothesis, like always, is that the leader’s pre-merge portrayal is a function of how well he or she and the tribe did post-merge.

Erik: I don’t know if Erik can redeem himself. In THIS group, he isn’t that bad but well before his idiotic decision, we knew that Erik was a Dumb Player: In Airai, he chose to empower Joel in his quest to destroy Mikey instead of trying to repair the tribe’s fracture. In challenges, he threw sand all over the Favorites during their very first encounter and later he flipped Amanda on her “friggin’ head.”

That would have been reason enough for the Favorites to seek revenge, but then Erik stopped trying to compete against Ozzy and started acting like his puppy. It led to one of Cirie’s marvelous confessionals: “Erik and Ozzy are like ‘The Lion King.’ The father, when he was teaching the cub and you can just see, like, stars. Whenever he says Ozzy’s name, like stardust comes out of his mouth. It’s like ‘Aaahzzy!’ I think that if Ozzy were to propose marriage to Erik right now; done deal!”

Erik’s obedience earned him a reprieve and he wound up being the Fan with the best shot at winning. We soon saw that James was right, though, that there was indeed something wrong with that kid when he gave up the immunity necklace.

The first time, Erik’s goal was simply to beat Ozzy in challenges and he seemed happy just to have met Probst. He wasn’t ready to play Survivor at all. Now, being a former fan himself, Erik has a natural connection to the other tribe. Will he be smart enough to use it? We should know early on if he is still edited as the Dumb Player or not.

Brandon: When will CBS get over its morbid fascination for the Hantz clan? Brandon already received somewhat of a redemption arc in the South Pacific, going from TalibHantz to the loyal kid who gave up his game because of his friendship with Albert. What more do we need to see? Absolutely nothing.
If he is as loyal as before, he could be a good ally because you always want to align with the dumb ones. I wouldn’t risk it, though, because it could all have been an act like that whole reunion scene with RussHell disowning him from the family.

Malcolm was the best player in the Philippines and he is far ahead of any guys in this tribe so I think he’ll easily navigate his way to the merge. The lack of downtime should hit him after a few weeks but his social game should keep him out of trouble.

Seeing how Malcolm needed to align with both Denise and Lisa, we can predict that he’ll gravitate towards Dawn who could become the Mom of that tribe. I don’t see Andrea risking her game again on a showmance though! They could align but there shouldn’t be any cuddling. These “Favorites” don’t know that Malcolm can make fire so it should give him some instant value.
Malcolm’s presence here raises the question of leadership on the Favorites’ tribe. Malcolm wisely deflected that role in Matsing: “Day 1, we got the fire. Russell made it, which worked out well because he wants to be the leader so bad! A target went off my back because I am not a threat to him.”
Who will step up this time? It almost has to be Phillip!! If Malcolm props him up like he did with Swan then he could have a good alliance.

Corinne: Corinne could do well judging by how she got into the Onions’ alliance:
Marcus and Charlie were talking about adding layers to their alliance.
After Marcus told Charlie that Jacquie was a really cool girl, Charlie said: “And I think Corinne. I actually really like her.”
Marcus (solo) “At this point, it’s looking like the large onion alliance, as I like to call it, is going to be myself, Charlie, Jacquie and Corinne. It’s what we are shooting for. Jacquie’s an awesome girl and I think she’s also very intelligent and I think Corinne is probably the smartest woman around. I’m gonna talk to Corinne and get a vibe from her because no one has made an official pitch at this point.”
Corinne was able to impress Marcus and Charlie enough to earn inclusion so she could do the same here.

I feel Corinne “owes” us one because of her very first confessional: “I’m gonna be a total b*tch and I’m gonna get rid of who I need to get rid of and I’m gonna hurt people’s feelings and I’m gonna laugh when people cry and I’m gonna own it.”
That would have been quite interesting to see but instead Corinne was the one that got the boot.

That being said, Gabon has a bad track record with Sugar and Randy being the first two boots on HvV so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Corinne going out first. She is alone from Gabon and that season is far removed from most of the others. She probably didn’t attend the same parties, and that counts in seasons like this.

Phillip: He was quite a piece of work. I’m certainly not happy to see him play again, but he was good for some laughs. Between talking to his dead ancestor, his trouble with names and CBS putting his former job in question (!) we were never sure if Phillip was completely there… or if he was with or against Rob. He started out targeting Rob: “I like to think we are two male lions that are checking each other out…” so Phillip could have, should have, been voted out first, but then we wouldn’t have heard this marvelous description of Stealth-R-Us: “I am known as the Specialist. My principal responsibilities: Infiltrate and supplant inceptions in the Zapatera tribe. We have here Boston Rob: The Mentalist. He develops strategies for challenges and to develop strategic alliances that are impervious. Where is Grant? He is The Destroyer of Aspirations, better known as The Assassin. Principal responsibilities: Go out and compete, destroying any competitor. And I forgot to mention the Three Degrees who are highly effective, formidable, agile and have supreme abilities to focus their mind like they did today.”

In the end, Phillip never came up with the argument to destroy Rob and win over the jury’s vote but that wasn’t surprising.
Phillip needs to improve his physical, mental and social game and stop parading in his fuchsia underwear. While the first promos indicate that he is in much better physical shape, we see that he hasn’t changed underwear…

Francesca: The only reason I can think for casting her is to see if Phillip will still call her Franceskwaw. I’m hoping for Fransaskatchewan myself. We knew she was in trouble as soon as she opened her mouth and commented on the returning players: “Two of the most famous trouble-makers in the history of Survivor.” The inability to stay quiet is often the mark of a dumb player. Redemption Island enabled her to get sympathy from the viewers but I want to see if she has learned to talk less and listen more. Casting her opens the door to a real humiliation: Being booted first twice!!!! I’d do it just to call her the Anti-Sandra.

Andrea: Being a farm girl helped her become the fans’ favorite of the 3 Degrees. She had a down to earth personality and a knowledge of the game that was a welcomed contrast to most of the other rookies in Ometepe. However, her whole season was summed up in this confessional: “I talked to Rob and he assured me that I’m still part of their five even though I’m probably in a very sticky position. Right now, strategically, it’s smart to stay with them and make sure they don’t think that I’m scheming but I just don’t believe them. So, I need some way I can mix things up because, deep down, I am still really pissed about what they did…”

She was never able to mix things up so, instead, Andrea decided to play the same game as the other two girls: Impress Rob and hope to become the second “Amber,” the one that would beat him in front of the jury. Rob had his goats all lined up, though. Her physical and social games were fairly good so I will be looking for an improved mental game from Andrea. She trusted people too much so she will need to play more aggressively.

Brenda: It didn’t take long for Brenda to make an impression in Nicaragua: She immediately told us that she was single and would flirt and then she went on to win the first challenge: The quest for the Medallion of Power. While her physical and mental abilities were adequate it was, surprisingly, her social game that was weak, that was too passive. She found it funny, even saying: “I have people on my side without doing anything.” While that was true at first (Chase told her that she had a target on her back and he eventually saved her – Sash brought her into his minority alliance) it became a liability when she couldn’t do anything to bring people back to her side. She was so secretive that people didn’t trust her.

To improve her game, Brenda needs to make bonds with others instead of waiting for them to come to her. She needs a proactive social game, to be more open with the others.

Dawn’s story had a rough start: “I had a really tough day 1 and day 2 but I came back strong and I think I can contribute.” Indeed, Dawn showed that she was a strong woman and her social game was clearly above average. We can certainly question her strategic acumen, though, especially when she didn’t say anything about Cochran’s plans.

Will she be more successful this time? It’s a good possibility because her main problem was Savaii’s composition: It had too many alpha males. As Dawn said: “It seems like the tribe is forming bonds but, coming here, I had these hopes that we would really be organized…When I don’t see the shelter up by day one, it worries me…I have 6 kids, I’m used to being in charge…We should have a leader and Ozzy is a little like Bob Marley. I’m a planner and I’m not sure Bob Marley is.”

Dawn had more of a leader’s mentality than a follower’s and the Favorites’ tribe could offer her a chance to bloom because there is no automatic male leader. However, she could clash with Corinne or Brenda who are two head strong women…or Phillip who could clash with anyone for any reason! Brandon, Cochran, Erik and Malcolm give her a good start at an alliance.

Cochran: In So Pathetic, Cochran had three stories, which is pretty rare. It showed how much the editors liked him even if many viewers couldn’t stand his whining.

1) Cochran was completely out of his element: “Ozzy’s suggestion was to just have fun in the ocean. The only option was to get out there in our underwear and I was really opposed to doing this. I have this really pale skin…I wasn’t crazy about the idea of going in the water; it’s only going to make me more like the pathetic twerp that I am with my clothes on.”
2) He couldn’t fit in with his tribe and we heard that they didn’t treat him fairly: “I will have to turn on the cool, mellow Cochran instead of the antsy, paranoid nerd kid that I have been for the last few days… I already have this reputation as the nervous, neurotic scrambler.”
3) Cochran knew the game: “I am the most Survivor savvy player to ever play the game. I’ve never missed an episode…” That story didn’t work out because he was charmed by Coach and he forgot a key lesson: You can’t be the only one to flip on a whole tribe. It’s better to have someone to share the blame because jurors don’t give much credit! Cochran should never have flipped without Dawn. That was his mistake.

Since there shouldn’t be a problem with the elements the second time around and he should be able to fit in with this group then Cochran can be very dangerous: With an alliance, Cochran suddenly becomes…Todd! If he can make it work (and I doubt he’d make a stupid mistake like Yau Man in Micronesia), if he can form that alliance, then he could go far indeed.

The Fans:

Eddie: Since he is a firefighter, I believe Eddie when he says that he’s in shape and will be good in challenges. I have to wonder if he really understood Boston Rob’s game when he says that he wants to play like him because he made friends with all the right people!? That’s certainly not how I would describe Rob’s game!
This is a fan that could go far with the only red flag being his age. 23 is young to compete against returning players.

Julia: Speaking of being too young, Julia is 21 and she even dares say: “As a racecar driver I’m the center of my team, so it’s my job to lead and motivate everyone to be their best.” I hope she’s aiming for cheerleader instead of tribal leader because, otherwise, she’ll be sent to the scrap yard pretty quickly. Maybe, after this season, we will ask Julia who?

Hope: Is there hope for Hope? Well, some beauty queens have done well in the past (Danni and Amanda) but most have been really, really bad (“Cookie” and Cathy just last season). Somehow, seeing her list Brenda and Andrea (along with, you guessed it, Parvati…) as her favorite Survivors, I see a trap lurking for Hope. If she gushes over the two returning players then her tribe won’t take a chance: Boot her before she has a chance to become Hopelessly starstruck and attaches herself to those two like Cindy did with StepheMe. Take those bikini shots early guys because we won’t be seeing her parading for long.

Reynold: On the one hand. Reynold seems to have everything going for him: Young but not too young, physically fit and used to living outdoors. He should be the natural but, on Survivor, the naturals often become insufferably arrogant. That’s what I get from him especially when he lists Tom Brady as his inspiration in life, Colby, Parvati (even guys have the disease now?!) and Todd as his inspirations for Survivor. I see him taking the lead on Gota and then being cut down by the Favorites as soon as they have the chance.

Sherri: Another one of those lame fans that lists Parvati as the player they want to emulate. I’d like it if for once the interviewer would point out that Parvati gets voted out first if Fairplay doesn’t quit or if Randy hadn’t been so lame. Anyway, Sherri thinks she is a flirt but, at 41, she has quite a challenge competing against the girls in her tribe. She isn’t in Espada.

That being said, I give Sherry a good shot at lasting if she avoids that early elimination because she is fit and she could connect with the Favorites. Swaps were disastrous for Margaret, Amy, Tracy, Monica, Yve and Jill but were real lifelines for outsiders like Teresa, Holly and Jane. On which side will she be? The editing could give us an early hint: Except for Amy, those that were eliminated after a swap didn’t get a big story line and we knew little about their alliances in their original tribes while the ones that lasted long into the game had been clearly established as likable outsiders. Look for that to determine how Sherri will fare in the game, especially after a swap. Considering how many viewers liked seeing Tracy and Monica on Survivor, she could become a fan favorite herself. She could even make it to the end with a shot at the win like Holly.

Laura: Another Pervati-wannabe! Do I need to add anything? Well she shows some originality by adding Brenda and Jenna but I want to point out she was 13 when Amazon aired (sorry Rob!) so I wonder what she understood in Jenna’s “strategy”? Then again, she may have watched Amazon not too long ago. That would imply she is truly a die-hard fan and not a recruit disguised as fans like most of them in Micronesia. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt but still Gota isn’t Jaburu and the challenges will probably be much more physical than in a Women versus Men season. Will Laura have what it takes to survive the first few Councils?

She seems like a smart girl and since not everyone can be voted out first then maybe Laura has a chance. She promises to work hard around camp so her early edit should tell us a lot about her chances: Will we see her work or will we see her relaxing in the ocean? You know she will do both but which scene will be shown?

Allie: Of the four young women on Gota, I give the most chances to Allie. Why? Because she is one of the few smart enough to say that she needs to know everyone before forming a solid plan. That’s what everyone should be doing but so many start playing too hard too fast. Also, I am intrigued reading that she liked Jenna’s game and describing it quite nicely. Maybe we do have a real fan here, someone that could use their knowledge of the game to their advantage. She describes herself as “Hilarious, cunning and observant”. To me, those are the three qualities I want most in a player. Especially the hilarious part.

Matt: I can’t help but think of Ralph when I see him. Ralph…or a ZZ Top reject! Ralph didn’t do too well in Survivor so I wonder if Matt will be more successful. Gota is a young, good-looking tribe so he’ll really need a superb social game to fit in. He could use his own life experience to become a substitute dad to some of the younger members of the tribe but the initial reaction will be to treat him like the weird uncle that you hope doesn’t visit too often. It’s tough to recover from a bad first impression especially in a game where everyone is looking for an excuse not to be the first one voted out. Peter Harkey sounded weird and that was enough to send him packing. I think Gota’s first vote will be between Matt and one of the blondes.

Shamar: He said: “My motivation for being on the show is to bring awareness to economical/social injustices and to bring honor and respect back to my community while inspiring the forgotten."

To me, that is either the most arrogant statement ever or the most clueless. The guy obviously doesn’t know this game and its objective. You’d think that a military man would be able to concentrate on the job at hand but, then again, you look at the messes the army creates at times and you understand the confusion.

His best hope would be to run across someone like Chris who knew how to manipulate an army Sergeant but Shamar seems much too entrenched in his own convictions to understand that this isn’t his show. Sarge knew his strength was in building a team but he was humble enough to see that he needed Chris to tell him how to proceed with the votes. I feel Shamar will be more like: “It’s my way or the highway” so that he’ll be hitting the road as soon as his muscles aren’t needed.

Michael: He enters the game with two strkes against him: First, he is the oldest guy on a tribe that is quite young. Nothing in the history of the game has divided people more than age. Second, he says that: “I don’t like “crazy.” If you can’t think rationally stay away from me.” If he makes it to a swap, will he even give himself a chance to form alliances with the crazy train that is the Favorites’ tribe?
It’s interesting that he notes Cirie and Rob as his favorite players but I doubt he will have a chance to put the lessons to good use.

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02-18-13, 06:59 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
I was lucky enough to be invited to participate as one of the bloggers on Rob Cesternino's website and I had a roundtable with the other bloggers there on the players.

Wow, michel! That is AWESOME! They couldn't have chosen a better person to blog! Well done and post the links!

Regarding your comments above, I loved it all with the exception of this: Since there shouldn’t be a problem with the elements the second time around and he should be able to fit in with this group then Cochran can be very dangerous: With an alliance, Cochran suddenly becomes…Todd!

I don't think Cochran will ever measure up to Todd. Even with an alliance. Even if somehow he won the game, he still wouldn't measure up to Todd in my book. But, I will try and keep an open mind.

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02-18-13, 11:15 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
LAST EDITED ON 02-18-13 AT 11:18 PM (EST)

Can't measure up in which way? I meant that they are both smart young men that are weak in challenges but know the game inside and out.

Todd was able to get in an alliance with Aaron, letting him take the lead but then stepped in to decide the post merge boots. Cochran is in an alliance with Phillip, letting him take the lead but surely he will be deciding the boots if that alliance keeps the numbers.

As for Rob's website, you can find it here:

My post is the same as here but the discussion then goes in different directions with the replies.

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02-16-13, 06:36 PM (EST)
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2. "Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
The show opened with Jeff’s mention of the stunning paradise and the dangerous wilderness while was saw a tarsier and a crocodile.
We then saw the ten Fans and Reynold had the first close-up.
However, Matt had the first confessional (none of these confessionals were credited): “It’s a surreal experience that I am here and playing the game.”.
When Jeff said they come from different walks of life, we heard Shamar’s confessional, foreshadowing an upcoming rivalry.
Shamar: “I’ve been in over 60 combat missions in Irak so, as far as this game goes, they’re lunch-meat.”
Allie: “I know enough about the game and I know enough about people that I think I will make it to the very end.”
Then Jeff mentioned the role of first impressions and we heard Laura’s confessional: “There is this one guy with glasses (Michael) that looks particularly observant of everybody else. I think he is going to be another strategist besides myself.”
As usual in these juxtaposed confessionals, Michael’s response wasn’t kind: “One of the blondes looks like you could break her in two and she looks like she’s 18 years old. I’m like: What is she doing out here?”
This seems a good place to put our first impressions of the newbies:
Shamar will not lack confidence, in fact we can already say that arrogance will be a problem for him.
Unless his words serve to set up an underdog story, we can suppose that Michael will prove to be a better strategist than Laura.
It’s very interesting that Allie had a “stand alone” confessional, one that wasn’t countered by someone else. Putting Shamar’s confessional on the back of Matt’s set up this episode’s fight. Having Michael and Laura talk about each other sets up a potential suspense for their first Tribal Council but what was the purpose of Allie’s confessional? It could only tease us about the possibility that she may be there at the end. Of course, it would have been better for her chances if the audience actually knew that those words came from Allie! Still, it’s a more promising start for her than being ignored like the other 5 Fans.
Then the Favorites flew overhead and Jeff gave a brief description of each:
- Malcolm: One of the most popular to play, came within one challenge of winning it all but he dropped the ball.
- Cochran, the Survivor nerd. He betrayed his tribe and paid the ultimate price.
- He took Dawn down with him. He told her his plan to flip but she was too loyal to go along.
- Brenda: She used her looks to her advantage but not everyone was charmed.
- Erik was a fan on the first Fans versus Favorites and his inexperience showed. (We heard Parvati tagging him as the dumbest Survivor ever.)
- Erik wasn’t the only one to give up immunity: Brandon was willing to sacrifice everything in order to play the honest game that his uncle never could.
- Andrea, the hard working farm girl. She flirted her way right out of the game.
- Corinne: She was good at making friends…but even better at making enemies. (I really enjoyed hearing once again the insult she threw at Sugar!)
- Phillip: He was labeled crazy by his tribe mates but he aligned with one of Survivor’s best and made it to the final three.
- Francesca: Phillip’s old rival.

Right after this, we had Andrea delivering the first theme that we will have to keep in mind: “The theme of the season is people that made big mistakes. This is a chance to correct those mistakes.”
Jeff’s descriptions, which were the Favorites’ stories edited to the bones, will be useful in guiding us to see which players don’t make the same mistakes. Immediately, I see it as a bad sign that the scene they chose for Phillip was his racial confrontation with Steve, the most unsavory fight of that season.
I am also interested by Jeff’s take on Andrea. Is it fair to say that she flirted her way out of the game? It was a lot more complicated than that. Reducing her mistake to this sets the bar too low for her. Knowing better, we can add a little and say that Andrea let her emotions get in the way so she needs to play a more clinical game.
As for Erik, it will be hard to correct what we heard once more was the dumbest mistake of all and it’s interesting that he was connected with Brandon from the start since they would both end up on the wrong side of the numbers in this episode.

Then Jeff gave each tribe their challenge:
- The Favorites will have to learn to battle together and cope with their egos.
- The Fans will have to learn the game fast.

The two people shown on screen when Jeff mentioned the million dollar prize were Andrea and Erik.
(It’s often meaningless but I like to keep track of these things just in case.)
Crocodiles were everywhere when the Fans’ boat (The Vincent for future trivia games!) approached shore. Michael was seen loosing his balance when he tried to make it to shore. The Fans were accompanied by military music as they made their way towards Jeff.
The Favorites entered to what sounded like a score for a superhero movie.
Cochran was greeted by laughter.
Dawn seemed to be Sherri’s favorite.
Corinne and Andrea drew no comments.
Erik also heard laughter.
Malcolm had nothing except Hope’s appreciative look.
When Brenda entered, the editors wanted us to know that the fans, Julia in particular, found her “So Dangerous!”
Brandon was greeted by an “OMG! That’s Russell’s nephew.”
Francesca was ignored.
Phillip entered the arena with a regal air to Shamar’s complete surprise.
Shamar showed that he wasn’t impressed (we had the same reaction when we first heard about this casting disaster) “This is lunch-meat right here, It’s about to be chow time.”
We kept track of the Fans’ reactions to each Favorite to put them on the back-burner. It will be interesting to see what happens if Sherri and Dawn wind up on the same tribe after a swap. Can Brenda survive a swap if she is considered so dangerous already? Hope certainly seemed interested by Malcolm’s looks so will that lead to something? Will Phillip be the one to make lunch-meat out of Shamar? We’ll look back at these later on in the season but already we can say that these Fans weren’t as impressed by their “Favorites” as the Micronesian Fans.
Jeff handed them their buffs and they were already going into a challenge.
Andrea said: “We need a little fight.”
Immunity Challenge:
1st Round: Erik and Dawn took on Mountain Man Shamar and Julia. Even if Erik was off to a fast start, the Mountain won.
2nd Round: Hope and Eddie faced Brandon and Andrea. Eddie sprinted to the ring and threw it to Hope. Andrea got the fight she wanted and held Hope down. Brandon was the one to win the point by pushing the foursome to the Faves’ pole where Andrea scored.
3rd Round: Sherri and Michael went against Brenda and Phillip. When Brenda and Sherri got tangled up, the music stopped and we heard Shamar telling Sherri to “Break her wrist.” Jeff couldn’t understand so much violence. (I couldn’t understand so much stupidity but it’s an indication that Shamar won’t last that long.)
When Phillip started dragging Michael by the foot, we had a very interesting, potentially foreshadowing, comment by Jeff: “Phillip with a strategy that will be hard to stop.” Phillip did win the point.
The 4th Round saw Matt and Laura matching up against Cochran and Francesca. When Laura asked Cochran if he could handle her, his reply made me chuckle: “You wouldn’t believe what I can handle.” The round came down to Francesca being able to handle Matt, giving the Faves their 4th point.
5th Round: Malcolm and Corinne went up against Reynold and Allie. Reynold outraced Malcolm to the ring but he was overpowered in the wrestling match by a naked Malcolm.
Goata - Day 1
Shamar (solo): “To leave the challenge without being the victor was very disappointing to me. I had so much confidence in my team. It made me realize that I don’t have full control over this game and I have to do my best and inspire my team mates to do a better job next time.”
Julia: “When we saw the flag…we knew it was real. We knew this island was going to be our home for the next 39 days.”
When somebody mentions 39 days (or rather when the editors choose to put the comment on the air) I often think that we just received a clue that the player will be there 39 days later but, with Julia, I doubt it.

Reynold had the next confessional: “We only had one canister of water and it was pretty much gone so we realized we had to make fire to be able to boil water or we wouldn’t be able to make it two days.
Matt’s confessional set up Goata’s first confrontation: “To me, shelter is just as important as fire and we have 10 people so I’m going to do my thing and see how it plays out.” The tribe started to build that shelter but Mt. Shamar wasn’t impressed: “You guys are putting a lot of energy in something we don’t need right now. We need fire, man!” Matt’s confessional continued: “I’ve been busting my ##### and I haven’t seen you lift a single finger…I had higher expectations from a Marine.”
If Shamar’s arrogance wasn’t enough, being labelled lazy is pretty much a story killer, especially since the camera proved Matt’s words.

Reynold, nicely taking the role of narrator for his tribe, had an interview about the argument” “Shamar went nuts and I am a little bit worried about how we are going to size up against the other tribe. We have an immunity challenge coming up and we will need to have camaraderie in camp or things are going to get ugly quick.”
The Goata scene ended with a loud “shut up.”
Bikal – Day 1:
Dawn had the scene’s first confessional: “Landing on this beach, it was a little surreal. I had this experience. I was walking on the beach, we were finding our camp but it was definitely different as far as the island. This is dinosaurs or something.”
Malcolm: “As the new kid on the block, my role, the first few days, is impression management. Luckily, I managed to win the game point, won us the flint and the beans. I got to make a great first impression on the tribe which is great for my strategic game.”
Phillip (solo): “The first time you come out, you are so unsure, there are so many unknowns...Can I do it? I already know I can do it so this time, when I hit the beach, I was like my father when he went to Iwo Jima during WWII. He was fighting with the Marine corps and they were ready to deal with whatever they had to deal with. It was awesome for me to hit that beach knowing I’m ready baby!”
Brenda joked with Phillip about the shelter, leading to Francesca’s first confessional: “I stand by my initial assessment of him as a crazy person… There’s much bigger threats in the game than me…”
Under a monkey’s watchful eyes, Francesca, Andrea and Dawn set out to look at the big picture. They wound up proposing an alliance of the members of Redemption Island with those of South Pacific. (Note that a baby monkey appeared as soon as they mentioned Cochran’s name!)
Francesca’s confessional continued as she talked about her impossible situation in RI and that she wanted to get to know everyone and play smarter. That led her to Phillip!
Phillip: “I am going to let Francesca be Francesca. The fact of the matter is; I buried the hatchet with her but when I had a conversation with her, I realized she is stuck in a time warp. She annoys me greatly.”
Francesca: “…If I am voted out first a second time, I will eat this rock.”
How did it taste? I don’t have much to add to this scene as it mostly set up this episode’s boot. I will note however that it showed Dawn and Andrea as real players. That was the long term implication of this scene.
Matt was still working on the shelter, Mt Shamar was still resting but Reynold and a few others were working on fire.

Shamar had another confessional: “Being voted out is one thing but I am not going to sit here and be the guy that goes out for dehydration…I looked at people trying to make fire and I saw where they were going wrong so I sat back and said: I need to do this, I need to do that. I am going to be the Marine who comes in at the end and just smashes ‘em.”
Working with Michael and others, Shamar made fire.
(OK, I could make some easy jokes here about seeing Hope hold the wood between her breasts and then everyone seeing “Amber” but let’s keep it analytical.)
Shamar: “I had to make it happen. It was like being in Irak and having to get home: It had to happen.”
So now Shamar gets even more fleshed out and takes on an almost heroic role. His long term story may be doomed but, at present, he has a story that’s taking off. Should we give Shamar the benefit of the doubt like Matt said? We’ll see.


Phillip: “We have such a good crowd. I look at everybody in there and see that this is going to be a good game. The things I learned from Boston Rob might come into play working with this group. I created something called the “BR Rules”. BR Rule 1 would be: Get in an alliance (Cochran shown). BR Rule 2: Get in an alliance within an alliance (the camera moved to Andrea) BR Rule 3: Get rid of your alliance before it gets rid of you (Erik is now shown). And, by the way, you don’t owe anybody anything” It’s all about Family.”
Phillip recruited his soldiers, starting with Corinne the “Dominatrix”! He told her that he wanted to add Malcolm and Andrea. Corinne was all in.
While this was shown, Phillip’s confessional continued: “I’m playing a different strategy this time. First of all: Find 2 people that were very efficient at dominating the tribe, making sure we had the numbers so I picked Corinne. Corinne is a take charge sort of person. I picked Andrea (The “Eliminator”) because I knew her to be a strategist.”
While Corinne and Andrea recruited Malcolm, Phillip’s confessional continued: “Part of my strategy was to have two people like that, I would be in the background because I am being stealth, the undercover brother for sure. The Specialist; behind the scenes giving directions without being so obvious to everybody except my core alliance.”
Next Phillip approached Cochran and then told us: “I have gone out and recruited 6 people out of the 10 but I am looking at Erik. There is something there that I like.”
Phillip told Erik he had the numbers but wanted him in also.

Erik then had a confessional: “Phil basically said to me: You’re with me or you’re out. It’s not even a choice which drives me nuts. The fact that he came to me with this fear mentality, with the Boston Rob style, I don’t want to be with him. He’s a combative, idiot loser who makes everybody crazy.”

Erik is continuing to show that he is a dumb player by antagonizing someone that just told him he had the numbers. Jeff’s words during the challenge also apply to the game: Phillip has “a strategy that will be hard to stop”. Even if Erik didn’t believe that was true, he still should have humored the ex-agent, gone along with his plan. After all, the combative idiot losers are often the best allies to have! Erik should have felt right at home because, in Micronesia, his ally Joel was a combative, idiot loser.


There, we were greeted by more baby monkeys and joined Eddie and Reynold as they agreed to stick together because they’d have targets on their backs.
Next Reynold went to Allie saying he was happy that they had been paired up in the challenge. Reynold then offered to go all the way to the last two with her.

Reynold then had a confessional that was more about the game than the tribe’s story: “I think it was serendipitous that I got paired up with Allie in the challenge. I knew that the guys would want to pair up with me, I knew that was going to happen naturally and there was no pressure for that. But I needed immediately someone who is not obvious. I think she’s a non obvious choice. She kinda flies under the radar, she’s not the cutest (Allie must have loved hearing that!) she’s not the anything. She’s just cool and there and likable. Survivor is a game of gut instinct and right now my gut feels good and I think hers does too.”

Eddie and Hope quickly paired up also. They talked about adding Reynold and Allie to their alliance.

Eddie had the confessional: “Me and Hope are the two best looking people here and I am not just saying that, that’s how it is. As soon as we got off the boat we were partners in the challenge and I said I want to work with you and she said I want to work with you. Hope is like a Southern Belle…we are going to have fun”

The fact that the two men had the confessionals tells us they will be more important in this act than their female partners. However, Allie was the one with the early confessional and the only one that didn’t say anything dumb in this scene so maybe she’s the one that flies under the radar.

Then the night came and Reynold didn’t keep his promise to act cool in camp very long! Did he really think no one would notice him and Allie as they were making out?

While we saw their heavy cuddling, Laura had a confessional to tell us what happened: “The first night, everybody was just looking for body warmth so it was just like we were all piling in but I noticed, because I was sleeping next to Reynold and Allie, that their cuddling was a little bit more…Not a smart move. Romantic alliances do not work on Survivor. You are going to get targeted right away.”

Bikal – Day 3

Cochran had a confessional: “Weather wise, this is not my environment. I was not aware how quickly I can get sunburned…My toes are sunburned.”

Brenda told us about him: “Cochran is like a little tomato right now. He is all bright red all over the place and he is swollen like a little pregnant lady!”

Cochran’s confessional continued: “I am going to make some self-deprecating comments but I feel like crying right now….I am in horrible pain but I am trying to stay strong. My new persona is strong, a little bit of swagger, a little bit of confidence. I can’t be the same freak I was the last time.


While Shamar did some stretching alone on the beach (which reminded me of Coach except Coach would have broken something doing that exercise!) the 4 popular kids were in the ocean enjoying their mutual popularity.

Reynold once more had a confessional: “Allie and I had a cuddle session last night and a lot is communicated through the cuddle.” (not if you wear protection) “Now we kinda have this four with me, Allie, Eddie and Hope so it all kinda worked out.”

Eddie: “It’s like the cool kid lunch table back in High school…I don’t think anybody else is going to be at our table.”

Even if they are only 4 in a tribe of 10, the editors didn’t make them out to look as dumb as Manono’s alliance of 4 roosters. In fact, their counterparts were the ones that would soon look dumb:

Julia, Laura, Sherri and Micheal were on the beach, observing the cool kids and getting a weird vibe.

Sherri: “There was a lot of snuggling going on last night. It wasn’t just staying warm kind of huddle thing: They were hooking up.”

The four shook hands, agreeing to break up the couples.

Michael: “I told the ladies that I was with them: “Yeah! I’m with you guys.” But I am trying to set myself up so that I can be hip to either direction.” While this was being heard in voice over, we were shown Michael serving food to Reynold and Eddie. The hint was obvious: When the time comes, Michael will serve the guys’ cause. His confessional continued: “I want to go where it’s best for me. Matt and I, we both have a great sense of humor, he’s laid back and he works so we kind of vibe in camp the same way.”
Michael told Matt about the women’s deal but that he was totally open to other options.

Matt: “Michael is telling me that there are a couple different alliances possibilities that have come up and that there are pretty strong options and he wants to know where I stand.”

Matt had some wise words for Michael: “Everybody is jumping the gun. If we win immunity and keep winning, we won’t have to make that decision for a while.”

Immunity Challenge.

As usual, Jeff chose to talk to Cochran, this time about his sunburn.

The Favorites put Cochran and Phillip on the first stage, keeping Brenda, Erik, Brandon and Andrea for the top two levels. It shows what they think about the players relative strength.

The Fans had Sherri and Laura on the first stage while Julia, Matt, Eddie and Allie went up high. Shamar must not be fast or he lacks stamina because he simply retrieved the bags that had been thrown.

Malcolm and Reynold had their teams’ trust to throw the bags. Reynold was clearly better, erasing a 3 bag deficit and winning it 6-4.


Francesca: “There is such a thing as luck. Reynold was good at throwing bags into holes.”
As soon as she sat in the shelter with Cochran, she suggested Phillip. She also mentioned Corinne just before the Gabon cast member came by to give some water to Cochran.
Francesca had a confessional to tell us that Corinne hadn’t talked to her about the game.

Cochran had a confessional: “Sunburn aside, I have a good rapport with everybody on my tribe. It’s very satisfying.”

Brandon and Andrea joined the threesome in the shelter only to hear Francesca’s diktat: “Phillip”.

Andrea: “Francesca, I really like her. She’s funny and I think we have a pretty good bond but it’s so hard because we talked right away, her, me and Dawn and we were going to figure this out and then it was a long time before I heard anything from her. She has her own agenda but I think I have more loyal people with Phillip instead of Francesca so it’s almost better to go that way.”

Andrea told Phillip that Francesca was gunning for him.
Phillip said he knew that Francesca was always strategizing, that she had to go.

Phillip: “I like the idea of voting Francesca out first again. You need to be like Machiavelli who said: “If you come to me once, I will burn your village, I will kill your aunts, uncle and all your children so that none of your kind will exist again.”

Then we had the image of two little crabs “inviting” each other to come on over! It was actually Brandon and Erik’s time to talk things over.

Brandon said it looked like Phillip would be voted out.
Erik agreed, telling HalfHantz about Phillip’s threat.

Erik (solo): “Phillip approached me on the first day and said: “You can be with me and we have the numbers or you can be against me and we have the numbers anyway. Maybe Phillip does have the numbers. Maybe Phillip does have enough people that he can control the game. I am not sure what Phillip is up to. He is quiet, he’s just hanging out. He’s not scrambling too much so I don’t know what’s up his sleeve.”

Brandon told Francesca about Phillip’s numbers and that scared her. She told us in confessional that going out first again would be the worst thing ever.
(not for us!)

That’s when the little tarsier jumped back in front of the camera, demonstrating its skills at killing bugs. The two players that were then shown deciding on the kill were Cochran and Dawn. They asked for each other’s preference and Dawn told Cochran she wanted to play with him.

Cochran (solo): “Coming into this game, I was a little bit skeptical with how Dawn would react to me because I arguably screwed her over last time. I voted her out so I wasn’t sure if there was going to be any lingering resentment or what was going to be the case.” We cut away from the confessional to hear Dawn say that Fran was more dangerous in the long run than Phillip. Cochran’s confessional resumed: “I’m willing to work with (Dawn). She’s honest to a fault unless she’s reinvented herself in the past year and decided to play a much more cut-throat game which, actually, might be. The fact that she is willing to take out Franny whom she’s confessed really liking to work with, indicates this is a new Dawn. A new Dawn!”

With one confessional we see that two players are clearly setting out to correct their earlier mistakes: Cochran will be loyal to Dawn while Dawn will be less loyal to the others. That bodes very well for both.

Dawn: “Cochran and I talked at length about staying together and voting together so I trust him right now. What I am going to have to do is see what is in the best interest for us as far as where to vote. Wherever Cochran and I lie, we are kind of swing as far as I can tell.”

Then Dawn told Cochran that they could take it all the way to the end.

Showing us this pair and presenting them as a power couple is another great sign for the two ex-Savaii tribe mates.

Soon after, paranoia hit Franny who thought of splitting the votes in case Phillip’s calmness was due to an idol.

TalibHantz had a confessional, focusing his venom on his new Mikayla; Andrea: “I don’t trust Andrea at all. She’ll be talking to one person one second, talking to another person the next. Strategy, strategy, strategy. She’s strategic, dude! She’s aware. I am more intimidated by Andrea than anybody out here.”

Erik and Brandon convinced Fran to switch the votes on Andrea because she was “so freaking smart.”

Cochran had the last confessional of the episode: “In a way, I want to vote out Francesca but there is this kind of emotional aspect. You can say you want to play the most strategic, cold-blooded game in the world but emotions do enter into the equation. The fact that I like her doesn’t help so, there’s a part of me that like maybe I should vote her out because that would be cruel but I feel like it’s inhumane. I don’t know. I have morals. I have the sense of shame”

Tribal Council:

Jeff asked Brandon if someone was running the tribe.
Brandon answered that they were all chiefs and that no one was going to get done like they got done the last time.
That gave Probst his first easy comeback: “Somebody is. (laughs) Tonight!”
Jeff then went to Francesca’s rivalry with Phillip.
She said it wasn’t fun.
After showing he could pronounce her name, Phillip said he felt apprehension, that he was concerned about the things that happened. “She was very strategic early on in the game when she didn’t have to be.”
Jeff pointed out that Fran didn’t have that much experience.
She took it to mean she was bad at Survivor but Jeff replied that he didn’t say that.
(You should Jeff. You really should!)
Fran talked about the changing plans and the paranoia.
Phillip said paranoia appears when you hear your name being mentioned and that his name was mentioned.
Andrea said the littlest comment can cause someone to freak out.
Asked about her skills, Andrea said she was good in challenges and worked hard.
Dawn frowned at this which I interpreted as meaning it’s better not to show how good you are in challenges..
Jeff asked Cochran about the game being played faster with returning players.
Cochran agreed that things happened quickly and that there were many plans in place because there was no time wasted on wondering about toilet arrangements and opening coconuts. “We are playing the game right off the bat and it’s exciting.”
We saw that there was camaraderie between Malcolm and Cochran at the end of this exchange: Just for laughs, Malcolm put his hand on Cochran’s shoulder, imitating Boston Rob’s famous gesture.

The vote left Brandon, Erik and Brenda out of the loop.
Jeff left them by saying: “There is a group of Fans who know they can beat you and they will be looking to do it again soon.”

The Story

I saw this episode through 2 main themes: The wall to wall strategy discussions, in both camps, told us that “The Game is being Played Faster”. It wasn’t only the Favorites because we were told of two opposing factions in Gota.

We were also told by Andrea that this is an opportunity to “Correct Previous Mistakes”. It applies directly to the Favorites but we can translate it to the Fans by saying they need to avoid making the “classic” mistakes. As such, it was interesting that the 2 couples’ alliance was in the Fans’ tribe while the 6-3 fracture was in the Favorites’ tribe, a reversal of the previous Fans versus Favorites.

Finally, as something just to keep in mind: While we did see many dangerous creatures, the only one shown making a kill was the “cute” tarsier, the little primate that was shown many times, particularly during Cochran and Dawn’s strategy discussion. For now, I think the tarsier and the other baby monkeys are hints that the “big guys” won’t win this season, that the winner
will be someone that won’t look like a threat.

The Characters

The Sprinters – These players raced out of the gate but, as a result, have put a target on their back:

Francesca, the first boot falls in this category because of her constant strategizing. She wasn’t the only guilty one.

Phillip: By taking the lead of his alliance, Phillip proved he had learned something from Boston Rob. It will be interesting, possibly hilarious, to watch him applying the BR rules! Phillip probably doesn’t realize that his plan has a few flaws: He isn’t as charismatic as Rob and even his mentor needed 4 tries to make it work. By including his references to his father the Marine and Machiavelli, the editors wanted to remind us that Phillip is still a bit crazy. That’s the mistake that can’t be corrected. So, if Phillip has a strategy that will be tough to stop, it’s more likely to benefit someone that he drags along instead of himself!

Andrea: By being aggressive and going after someone she liked, Andrea has already corrected her original mistake. She isn’t going to be only the nice farm girl that wants to fit in. She needed a little fight and she got it. Unfortunately, she put a target on her back even earlier than last time. Then, she only partly recovered but this vote gives her a good reprieve. Will she put it to good use? We were reminded a few times that she is smart.

Eddie: He wasn’t only fast at playing the game; he didn’t waste any time getting in a showmance with Hope. Eddie was presented as making a classic mistake: Forming a 4 person clique in a tribe of 10. They will need to invite someone to their table but Eddie doesn’t seem to realize this. Fortunately for him, his challenge skills may spare him but then his girlfriend’ game could end much like it did for Ozzy’s girls in So Pathetic.

Reynold: He was also guilty of making a quick, obvious connection but I have more confidence in this couple’s durability. In addition to his strategy talk, he also became the tribe’s narrator so he should make the merge. We have seen changes of narrators before but it’s rare. The editors like to have one main narrator per tribe. His girlfriend is also more likely to fly under the radar than Hope.

Hope and Allie: Their game also got into gear instantly even if they did most of their work on the backseat. Allie should fare better than the beauty queen because of that opening confessional and a more substantial description. We know she is cool, likable and could fly under the radar. Hope? We only know that she is the prettiest one there (besides Eddie!)

Michael: He was already looking at different options and has a deal with the women that he is ready to break. Will he heed Matt’s advice about not jumping the gun? Michael seems determined to stir things up and it was totally unnecessary to show us his confessional about going against the women. Gota didn’t go to Tribal Council so the editors could have let us wondering how the 4-4 split would get resolved. Instead, not only did we hear Michael questioning his options, we saw him serving Reynold and Eddie while talking about it. I have no doubt that Michael will eventually side with the guys but he could break up one couple first, increasing his position on the totem pole or rather, opening up a chair at the popular kids’ table!

Shamar: His only sprint was to put a target on his back. Like Reynold said: “Shamar went nuts”. The Fans may realize that they won a challenge without his help so maybe he could be eliminated early. That would explain why we heard so much so soon about him. Ace in Gabon had that kind of complexity and he didn’t make the merge. The editors could have decided to give this war hero his due but show us at the same time why he wasn’t good at Survivor.

Matt: He should have known better than to take the clear lead in building the shelter. It rarely gets anyone more than grief and it did lead to the first rivalry. He reminded Michael not to jump the gun but creating conflicts this early is a form of jumping the gun. They have to live with each other for over a month so they should start by socializing. One of the first scenes in Borneo told us that you shouldn’t jump in immediately with the job at hand. Aren’t they fans???

Going Nowhere Fast - These players already find themselves in trouble.

Julia: Despite her confessional and performance in the challenge, I don’t get the impression that Julia will last long in the game. For one thing, she looked ill, remaining seated during the whole talk with the others and keeping her coat on.

Sherri: I was expecting more from Sherri, especially after seeing her paired up with Michael in the first challenge, I thought they’d form a powerful couple. They did align but that wasn’t very promising. The only thing we can say about Sherri is that she is aware of the couples’ alliance. That’s not much to go on.

Laura: She had a more prominent role than her two alliance mates but it was mostly to tell us that she is in danger. Michael said she looked weak and didn’t really belong in the game so her long term chances don’t look too good. Romantic alliances don’t always work but they do when they have the numbers.

Erik: Not much has changed for Erik since the last time. In fact, things are worse: Bikal is as divided as Airai but Erik is in Jason’s place right now; the minority alliance. And it was all his doing as he was offered a spot in Phillip’s alliance but he declined the offer. That is the mark of a Dumb Player. Erik can only hope for a tribe swap.

Brandon: His only confessional reminded us of his inability to cope with a smart, beautiful woman. Jeff made him look foolish at Tribal Council which is often an indication that a player won’t last long. We can only wish.

Brenda: We can say for certain that not everyone was charmed by Brenda this time! With everyone knowing that she is dangerous, she has no chance of surviving in a minority. Her only hope is for Brandon to explode and then waiting for Phillip’s alliance to implode. If Phillip learned Rob’s lessons well then that shouldn’t happen.

Going Along for the Ride - These players had a good start but the story wasn’t about them:

Malcolm: He accomplished what he wanted: He found a way into the main alliance even if he was the new kid on the block. Being arguably the most popular Favorite, his role was strangely quite limited. To keep with the BR Rules, Phillip must see him as his Grant. If that alliance does make it all the way to the end, who would side with Malcolm over Phil? Lisa and Skupin aren’t playing this time so I don’t see anyone else being that dumb.

Corinne: As we saw during Gabon’s premiere and as Jeff said when he introduced her, Corinne is good at making friends. She was Phillip’s first choice so she finds herself in a good spot already. Last time, her mistake was making enemies and we had a glimpse of that when Francesca made her the secondary target. From what Fran said, it’s apparent that Corinne stopped talking to those that weren’t in her alliance and that is not a smart thing to do.

On Cruise Control - These players had a solid start:

Dawn: Having already flipped on her original alliance, we can say that Dawn corrected her mistake. The New Dawn could very well be on her way to the end and, if she gets there, she will be tough to beat. With Cochran, she was clearly shown as the deciding factor so Andrea’s “Thank you guys” once Jeff had read the final vote was directed at this powerful couple. It should earn them some valuable trust.

Cochran: He also corrected his mistake by getting in the main alliance. He has a good rapport with everyone which wasn’t the case ion Savaii. It was interesting to see that Cochran was shown twice when Phillip talked about BR Rule 1: Get a Main Alliance. Phillip sees Cochran as the intelligent player so he should go to Cochran first with his plans. That should allow Cochran to steer the ex-Federal Agent in the desired direction.

Moving on to the next episode, it will be interesting to see if any of the sprinters can overcome their hurdles, if the players going nowhere can find their bearings or if the players on cruise control continue on the right course.

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Round Robin 2243 desperate attention whore postings
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02-17-13, 05:32 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
They made it a little too easy on us to figure out who was going first with that obvious episode title plus the scenes they showed and the obvious editing. After some of the dumb things Francesca did and said, there probably weren't 3 long term Survivor fans in the whole damn country who didn't know she was dead meat. Methinks it won't be that easy this next episode, as they don't like to give us 2 in a row that easy.
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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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02-17-13, 09:49 AM (EST)
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5. "RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
Yes, that was pretty bad but, at least, we are not too worried about the next boot here. There were clear indications of the Long Term players in Bikal but, fortunately, we still have to figure out which Fans make it far.
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02-17-13, 08:29 AM (EST)
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4. "RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
Nicely thought out michel. I thought Cochran, Dawn, Andrea and to some extent Phillip, Malcolm, Michael and Corrine made good impressions on me.

Brandon stats he doesn't talk to Russell yet previews indicate he'll try to be Russell like isn't a good sign. Brandon is no Russell, he lacks the ability and I don't see him lasting long.

Erik may last a bit on his athleticism but he hasn't changed much from his first outing. I'm not sure he'll make the merge.

I should be watched....closely.

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02-17-13, 09:56 AM (EST)
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6. "RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
Thank you Suzzee,

I have good feelings for the same players you mentioned but I would add Reynold and Allie. I know, it's dumb to stick out like that but Ozzy and Amanda did the same in the 1st FvF and Amanda still made it to the end. It all depends on Michael who is in position to be Goata's Cirie...unless Matt is the one nudging him in the right direction! (Someone could say it'll take two men to do Cirie's job!)

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02-18-13, 04:26 AM (EST)
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7. "RE: Episode 1 - Playing the Game Faster"
I don't remember seeing that much of Corrine, and what I did see made her seem like she's going to keep a lower profile early in the game and play a mellower style than last time she was on. I don't think the faves will have that much tolerance for unpleasantness if the 1st show is any indication, so it's probably a good idea for Corrine to keep the nastiness down for now.
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02-18-13, 06:54 PM (EST)
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8. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
Hi Veruca! So nice to see you, but SO wish you would stay and comment occasionally! Your 2 cents is always so insightful and revealing. I miss you!

My first impressions were in alignment with most folks around here. I was extremely surprised that they called this season another Fans vs. Fav's. More like Fans vs. Jiffy's favs, or Fans vs. 2nd Chancers....

The Fans tribe looks like they are made up of mostly young kids/adults with a few characters sprinkled in...the war vet, the rigid middle aged man, and the bearded-tatoo dude.

I will try and comment on episodes this season, for whatever it's worth!

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02-18-13, 11:22 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
Call 'em Failures!

I've read an interesting hypothesis: The fans are loaded physically to dominate the challenges but dumb enough to let the favorites run circles around them after a swap or the merge.

Of course, the Faves winning 1 of 2 challenges and having the lead after the physical part of the second challenge throws a loop in that hypothesis but it could be due to nerves on the first days.

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02-19-13, 04:21 AM (EST)
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12. "S26 Episode 1 - Editing Thoughts"
Hello all!

Have to admit I'm not crazy about returning players, although I did enjoy S16 Fans vs. Favorites. So I'm going to give this season a shot. First episode was okay, but not great.

I am NOT a fan of Philip at all, and of the returning players I wanted Erik to do better. And already we're seeing him make a stupid mistake by not going along with Philip. While I would've rather seen Philip go asap, Erik should've known that he did not have the weight or the numbers to oppose him. All I can say is I hope Philip cannot survive once the tribes shuffle. But I'm getting way ahead of myself, onto Ep1 editing thoughts...

Thoughts on the "Fans" tribe:
Appeared to me that it was more about the leading men, rather than the supporting women, on this tribe. And on a tribe of 10, the first episode showed some clear "pairings" that will play out. Leaving us wondering which ones will be pre-merge story, and which ones will be longterm.

First noticeable pair was Shamar and Matt. Shamar was clearly the most vocal on the tribe. Which will likely be to his disadvantage. Although he did already receive some redemption in starting the fire and getting the accompanying confessional. Matt was also vocal about the beginnings of camp life for the Fans. We also were given his confessionals both for and against Shamar. Is this the beginning & end of their squaring off, or will we see this continue. And while I felt that there was a clear manipulation of Matt juxtaposed with Shamar, he did have a nice scene with Michael (who I note as part of a different pairing) It was scene that hinted of what may be to come, especially as we see Matt and Michael sitting in the water with traditional Survivor music playing softly in the background.

Next pair, we have leading male Reynold and his supporting woman Allie. Reynold was the first fan to be shown on the boat, he had a nice number of confessionals in the narrator role, and he was the first to be shown making an alliance. He appears to know the game as we hear him speaks and he did very well in the challenges. But already we see him go back on his intuition to keep his alliance with Allie hidden. Will this be the kink in his armor. While he did share in confessional that he was aware that he made his Allie connection obvious in the shelter, could this still be a later issue for him. Allie may fair better if one of the pair has to go, as Reynold will be a bigger target when tribes mix-up or merge. It's also to her favor that her early confessional went something like this: "I know enough about the game... that I'll make it to the very end" - With no million-dollar quotes so far, this is one of the most promising confessional soundbites.

Next pair, we have a lesser leading man Eddie and his supporting lady Hope. Not only were they seen less than Reynold/Allie, they were shown talking about how they were the best looking on their tribe. We heard "showmance" music around their night time beach scene. At least Eddie was shown tied to Reynold directly and had a confessional. Hope on the other had little showing and no confessional. This pair was shown with the pair of Reynold & Allie, noting things like being "cool kids" and feeling secure in their alliance of 4. Notables that we've seen in other seasons that proved flawed for the players involve. I guess "cool kids" don't know that an alliance of 4 on a tribe of 10 is not a numbers advantage. Already we have been made of possible stupid moves by the first alliance revealed.

A more inconspicuous pair is Michael and Laura. Michael certainly had one of the best showings on the Fans tribe. He was prominent in the camp scenes, and even more so when shown that he was aware that he could be in a swing position with Matt to vacillate between choosing to side with the women on the beach or with the "cool kids." This will remain to be seen, but I think it's important to note that editing took specific manipulation to note that he is tied to Laura. A highlight was the scene in which Laura shared the information to counter the "cool kids" alliance. This is a nice juxtaposition to the fact that Laura and Michael had back to back early confessionals, right after Jeff mentioned first impressions. Laura stated that Michael is particularly observant and that she thinks he's going to be another stategist like her. Michael was then shown to state that "one of the blondes looks 18 yrs old" - adding "what in the hell is she doing out here." Will Michael end up working with her despite his first impression? We were shown Laura to have some game savvy in her second confessional stating that the cuddling pair of Reynold & Allie needed to be broken up.

The final pair on the Fans tribe is Sherri and Julia. Both seem cool enough, and each got a confessional. But they are clearly the least tied to any of the developments that were chosen to be highlighted in the first days of their tribe. That doesn't look too good for them right now. It will be interesting to see if either of them come into light next episode, or if they will continue to simmer on the back burner.

Regarding the "Favorites" tribe, it may prove more challenging to note the editing, especially for the characters like Philip, Cochran and Brandon. Although we haven't seen gratuitous attention to Brandon yet, Philip and Cochran did get considerable showings. And I believe they would no matter what their longevity in the game. One can hope though, that those relevant to the story and to the endgame will get their share of airtime as well.

Philip and Francesca got the lions share of confessionals and storytelling, which makes sense as Fran was the first boot (again). Philips declaration of the BR rules could prove as a blueprint for the season. Perhaps for him or for someone else? Although one could argue that this was shown no matter what the outcome, as it was homage to Boston Rob, and connected Philip to his original season. We shall soon see if Philip will continue to be top man on his tribe - there's a good chance we will get a lot of Philip each episode, whether he is out in few more tribals or makes it further in the game.

Good showings also came from Cochran and Dawn. They had their own confessionals (Dawn being the first of her tribe when they arrived at their beach) and both sharing about their ties to the game. They both also had a key conversation about this episode's boot, and were the swing vote for the outcome. Once again with no million-dollar, it is possible to take Cochran's quote about a "new Dawn" to be telling to the progression of the season.

I felt that Malcolm faired well the first episode. He did great in the first challenge, and had a nice early confessional about his strategy coming into the game. While he was low key the rest of the episode, he was not shown receiving any flack for the IC loss. To his favor, he was brought in by Philip to main alliance on the "Favorites" tribe. Corrine and Andrea were also brought in and were shown in key scenes giving each of them what appears to be good standing. With Andrea surviving as the first alternate boot choice.

Erik got 2 confessionals tied to his opposition of Philip. And while this might side with sentiment of viewers, it's not looking good that this will be sound strategy for Erik to make it to endgame. He was shown more than Brandon and Brenda, but could Erik nudge his way to the next phase of the game, after having defied Philip so early in the game? I hope so, but it's looking like production might be favoring Philip right now. Episode 2 will be very telling for Erik's chances. As for Brandon and Brenda, while they each had a confessional, they both had little ties to the story at the "Favorites" camp, and even worse, they fell on the losing side of the first vote.

It's looking like the stronger players lie in the faction of those in the majority of the first vote. And of them, I'm hoping we see the rise of a "new Dawn" rather than crazy man's Machiavellian play of "BR's rules"

Enjoy the season!

-- aaron

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02-23-13, 02:50 AM (EST)
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13. "S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thoughts"
Here are some editing thoughts from Episode 2:


Allie - So many cuts to Allie this episode during the scenes at camp, made her boot evident. Plus the irony in her confessional when she said: "Shamar has to go, it's non-negotiable" Those who follow Survivor editing knew early on that Allie would be the upcoming boot - the chosen sacrifice of the Beautiful 4 "cool kids" alliance. In sensing this early within the episode, we could see how the other players were edited in their participation of how her boot unfolded.

Hope - No confessional from her yet and nothing new to really differentiate her from Allie (other than Allie being booted for possibly having more game) - this does not bode well for Hope. Next episode we may finally hear from her, but if it's merely a response to Allie's boot or Reynold's HII, then it will simply emphasize that she has no bearing on the story.

Eddie - Similar to Hope, he is simply watching the game at the time. Like a number of other castaways this episode, he slipped to having no confessionals, but at least he is not alone.

Reynold - Once again Reynold was the first shown for the Gota tribe, and he received confessionals like he was a narrator for his tribe. And one again we were shown how Reynold is not the brightest (read: dumb) player. Last episode he noted that it would be wise to hide his alliance with Allie, then he cuddled with her in front of his tribemates. This time he picked a fight with Shamar to which he ended the argument stating his intention to vote for him at TC. Never a wise move to reveal such information. Yes, Reynold found the HII without a clue (but as we've seen over the years since Russell in Samoa, this isn't such a difficult feat afterall) Following the Reynold two-step, this too was turned into another dumb move when Laura observed the HII in his possession and called him out on it at TC. While it was a good choice not to play it then, we're being shown that Reynold is prone to make poor game decisions. It's not a question of if there will be a next dumb move, rather what it will be and when.

Shamar (or the "new" Philip) - Continued to be the most polarizing force on the Gota tribe. So much so that he was dubbed "my Philip" by Sherri (which is hardly a compliment). It could be good for his longevity, but already it may be safe to say that Shamar won't win (unless we see some major turnaround in his portrayal) He had a confessional stating: "Once they see that I don't really care about the game, then they won't see me as a threat" - this could've come across as strategic, but it almost appeared to sound like straight-up narrative. Which begs the question: Does Shamar really care about the game? From what we've seen so far, I'd say no. Despite getting some protection from that majority alliance, it's looking like Shamar will likely ##### someone off to the point of getting the boot.

Sherri - This episode Sherri jumped in and stole the show (and from all the attention Shamar is getting that's not easy to do!) She spelled out to him, and to the viewers in confessional, the counter alliance to the "cool kids" alliance. She came across as a Sandra Bullock doppelganger, who was both confident and assured, and a bit quirky at the same time - which may really help her keep the target off her back as they move forward. Not that a target for her would matter for her right now, as she was able to do what the "cool kids" were not able to do - be smart enough to figure that an alliance of 6 trumps that of 4. She also has been shown to be one of the stronger 4 of her 6. Plus, Sherri is savvy enough to know how Shamar can benefit her game as "her Philip" in this game. Could Sherri be the player that can pull off the BR Rules that were mentioned in Ep1?

Julia - Wherefore art thou, Julia? Although Julia is part of the major alliance on Gota, she was MIA in Ep2. Last episode I had her paired with Sherri, and I posited if either would come into light this episode or remain on the back burner. Well, in contrast to Sherri stepping into the spotlight, we can clearly maintain that Julia is barely at a simmer on the back burner.

Matt - Matt truly has been taking advantage of the swing position in his tribe. While we've been shown that he has a tight connection with Michael, we were shown that he flat out told Reynold and Eddie that he was with them & the girls for the vote. It's going to be interesting to see if Matt will receive any flack for his decision. Other than that, we are being shown that Matt does have a pulse on the game, and appeared flexible to go with the choice of the alliance he ending up siding with in the end. If he can keep playing a cool social game, he will have legs this season.

Michael - While Michael did not get a confessional this episode, he was the first person to be asked a question at TC and was asked his thoughts at the challenge by Jeff. He was also prominent in the scene coming back from the challenge, before Reynold called out Shamar. Michael was shown as integral in the majority alliance, finalizing the decision with Sherri, Matt and Laura. After a solid Ep1, this keeps Michael in good standing for having longevity for the season.

Laura - In this episode, we get a great scene on the beach in which the four who are "playing the game" on the Gota tribe come together to discuss the vote. And we hear Laura as the one naming Allie when questioned by Sherri. This is followed by her confessional in which she stated "I think she's the only one out of the pretty people that's really thinking" when assessing Allie as the target. While Laura was absent for most of the episode, she was front and center at this pivotal moment in determining the direction of the tribe. This also served as vindication for Laura regarding Michael's first impression as to why she would be out there on Survivor. Not only did we see Michael siding with her choice, but Laura is proving to be the most observant member of her tribe. Noting Allie's strategic ability, then observing Reynold's possession of the HII. While Laura could've withheld that information until after tribal and use it as leverage, by her stating it at TC it further cemented that the vote would go the way of "cool kids." We are being shown Laura's insights, and so far she is right on target.


Brandon - While production is used to milking every bit of Brandon's antics, it probably isn't a coincidence that he was highlighted so much during this episode, as it likely that he'll be the next boot from Bikal. While he, Brenda & Erik fell on the wrong side of the vote at TC, we have been shown loud and clear why the favorites would want Brandon to go next. In this episode, we heard from Dawn that Brandon is "mean" and "pollution" and we also heard Cochran's thoughts that Brandon is "unpredictable" and akin to "a murderer who is sociopathic" Yikes, this is rather harsh, even for Brandon. It's not looking like the swing-vote pair would likely consider to swing Brandon's way for the next vote. Rather it's looking like the writing is on the wall for Brandon. Will he go out with a bang? Will it have an affect on any of the remaining players? Will he Honey Badger or Honey Boo-Boo?

Brenda - We didn't hear much from Brenda in Ep2, yet she did well with Erik and Andrea in the challenge. Although getting less editing attention right after siding with the minority side of the 1st TC could be considered a good thing for her. But one can't help but sense that Brenda is getting such a less prominent edit that her first season's appearance (in which she was voted out shortly after the merge). Anymore of such downplay, then it will be safe to say that Brenda isn't long for this season.

Erik - Like I mentioned with Brenda, it was a actually a good thing that we did not hear much from Erik this episode as he was part of minority at the TC vote. We also didn't hear anything from Philip or Andrea as backlash for the decision Erik made. This should keep Erik safe a bit longer, but will it be possible to fly under the radar to make it to the merge? For the next vote, maybe, as Brandon is falling on sword and therefore shielding Erik, but Erik will need to get his game on and play differently than he did the last time.

Corrine - Still no confessional for Corrine, yet this is not such a bad sign as she is nestled within the dominant alliance over at Bikal. On a tribe full of explosive characters, Corrine is doing a good job laying low, which actually makes her chances for longevity look better. The question is: is she really laying low, or are we just not being shown Corrine because she doesn't factor into the story enough?

Malcolm - The ever likeable Malcolm. This episode we see him laughing alongside Philip's antics with the Stealth alliance, while making fun of him in confessional. While a "favorite" this time around, Malcolm is often showing his true "fan" colors. And while getting so much exposure last season, it may be better that Malcolm is starting off as slow as his is right now (while not being neglected) this way he has room to grow without it being a clear spike before his demise.

Andrea - Andrea had a pretty good first episode, and was very much in the mix of things over at Bikal. But she fell out of focus in Ep2, almost too much so. It would've been better for her edit if we heard from her about how she managed to escape the boot. Still, while a dip is better than a spike for Andrea at this time, we will need to see more from her sooner than later for her to be a real contender this season.

Philip - So far, I feel like we're seeing a different Philip than before. Much less "on" and "manic" than his first season. This more subdued version of the "crazy" that is Philip is coming across arrogant and even more unappealing. It's very unlikely that this edit is connecting to anyone who would consider backing Philip to endgame. In an episode where he was perceived to be the leader, then quickly shot down as the leader by the group, it's looking like Philip can't possibly follow in the foot steps of Boston Rob (as if there was any doubt ;) And in an episode where we were also given a "new" Philip, where does that leave Philip? Is he just another talking head (in pink underwear)?

Cochran - Cochran is still sitting pretty, and visually so in his confessionals too. Narrating about Brandon, while doing his duties in telling the tale of Bikal camp life. With his, and planting himself in the swing pairing with Dawn, things are looking good for Cochran

Dawn - The scene coming back to camp had a lot of focus on Dawn. With everyone else merely looking on. Production chose this important moment right after 1st TC to show us Dawn trying to play diplomatically (along with her breakdown) and Brandon's attempt to play diplomatically (along with his uncle-envy mania). Brandon's comment to her: "...Cause you're still going to lose" may prove prophetic or ironic. At the very least, it is already allowing us to pose doubt for Dawn's chances. Which is a good sign for her longevity. As for the Ep1 proclamation of a "new Dawn" - this has yet to be determined. While she did have a breakdown, it was apart from the group, and we did see her subsequently bounce back. Of the favorites, she is getting the most range of story so far.

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02-23-13, 01:51 PM (EST)
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14. "RE: S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thoughts"
In this episode, we heard from Dawn that Brandon is "mean" and "pollution" and we also heard Cochran's thoughts that Brandon is "unpredictable" and akin to "a murderer who is sociopathic" Yikes, this is rather harsh, even for Brandon. It's not looking like the swing-vote pair would likely consider to swing Brandon's way for the next vote.

I thought it notable that night 3 after returning from TC Brandon ended up telling Dawn and Cochran they were both going to lose and to remember this conversation. While this could be an ironic hint at one of them winning, in a more practical sense he might as well have said they should vote him out next, they don't want him on the jury.

Why Dawn even thought to try to explain things to Brandon, put herself and Cochran in his sights, it seems she wanted to turn down the pressure. Instead it turned into Brandon blowing up. Then going to the dark side.

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02-23-13, 02:39 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: S26 Episode 2 - Editing Thoughts"
Honey Badger or Honey Boo-Boo?


Either way, his IQ would have to go up.

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02-23-13, 04:11 PM (EST)
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16. "Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
In his recap, Jeff told us the Favorites wanted to show the Fans who was boss.

While the favorites felt right at home…
<Phillip: “This is going to be a good game”>
…the fans struggled to adapt.
They had no fire, couldn’t co-exist and alliances began to pull them apart.
<After Reynold enumerated the members of his alliance we heard Michael say to Matt: “You and I will decide which way we want to go.”>

Things turned around for the fans: They got fire and they won the first immunity challenge.

With the Favorites facing Tribal Council, Phillip and Francesca reignited their age old feud.
Phillip reinstated the “Stealth-R-Us” alliance targeting Francesca while Francesca put together an anti-Phillip coalition, leaving Cochran and Dawn stuck in the middle.
<Dawn: “Wherever Cochran and I lie, we are kind of swing.”>
At Tribal Council, history was made when Francesca became the first Survivor to be voted out first twice.

Very interesting recap: It told us that the Faves failed in showing who was boss.
It wasn’t very good for Phillip, ignoring his BR rules.
It wasn’t any better for Andrea, ignoring the fact that she was the actual secondary target.
It gave a lot of importance to Michael and Matt. These two could decide the fate of the Fans.
Between Dawn and Cochran, it was Dawn that got the credit for making the decision simply by being the one shown telling us they were the swing. The upcoming episode would make us ask however if it was really credit or blame? Considering what we will hear about the decision to boot Fran, the “nicest person”, I’d say it was better not to stand out like Dawn.

They Came To Play

Bikal – Night 3

Dawn wanted to explain her position to Brandon.
He told her that it was the harshest thing he had seen in his life.

The scene cut to a confessional by Brandon: “Tribal Council sucked. Francesca, one of the nicest person I ever met, twice, first person to go home.”

We went back to the fight and Brandon delivered what could be a death blow, editing-wise, to Dawn: “I feel sorry for you, ‘cause you’re still gonna lose. You both will still lose off of that stupid move.”

Dawn’s confessional was then inserted: “Brandon is really awful to me. It became…too personal for me. I had to walk away. I’m trying to get a grip on my emotions I don’t want to be around everyone, crying.” The camera shows us that Dawn was indeed crying while her confessional continued: “I try so hard not to disrespect people. I think I get really let down because I would never do that to someone so, to have someone do it to me; my brain can’t process it. I’m like: Oh, you’re mean. But it’s about me and what I stand for so it doesn’t really matter what Brandon thinks of me. It just doesn’t but that’s really disappointing because, if he treats other people like that, it’s just pollution.”

Dawn’s whole story hinges on how we interpret this scene. Does Brandon’s opinion matter? If it does then she cannot win. If it is pollution then she still has a chance. For now, I listened to Dawn’s words and they were all about self-pity. Not once did she talk about poor Francesca, someone who, we have to agree with Brandon, was very nice. Add the Fans’ reaction when they learn the Favorites’ decision and I think Dawn’s fans have a lot to worry. What better way to tell the fans at home how they should feel than by showing them the reactions of live Fans? Michael’s words could represent the viewers’ conscience: It was a vicious decision and it fell squarely on Dawn’s shoulders.
What about Cochran? His chances also took a hit but not as directly as Dawn. Yes, Brandon said they’d both lose but the camera never focused on Cochran.
Another thing to consider in this introductory scene was that we heard nothing from or about Andrea. She escaped a close vote so, if she was an important player down the road, you’d expect at least a line or two. It’s not fatal but it’s something to keep in mind.

Talking to Erik, Brandon said that he was fed up: “I’m thinking of going Russell Hantz style on these ___ right now, man!”

Talking to the camera, Brandon then said: “I feel like my uncle’s blood is running through my body…I don’t want to go out blindsided. This is a game and I am playing it D-I-R-T-Y to the core! I want to go out with a bang.”

Gota – Day 4

Reynold, Michael, Allie and Laura were seen working while Shamar was enjoying the shelter…the shelter he had spent half the previous episode saying they didn’t need.

Shamar: “I’ve been sitting in the shade, conserving my energy. I haven’t been trying to do too much, you know: Keep low because I can’t keep getting into these little scuffles…I’ve just been relaxing. I’ve been to Irak twice so I know what to do with the time. I can sit in the shade for the next 40 days. Once they see that I don’t really care about the game then I am not really a threat.”

This is an even worse strategy than Jean Robert’s who, I thought, had the dumbest one ever: Start by doing nothing then whatever you do later on is seen as an improvement. Shamar isn’t even considering how he will be perceived in the future. Outlasting never meant spending 40 days in the shade!

Laura talked to Allie about Shamar’s laziness.
It led to Allie who had the traditional “I’m-the-one-voted-out-tonight” confessional: “It’s like a group joke: Where is Shamar? 20 Bucks says he’s napping. Shamar’s definitely got to go. If we go to Tribal Council, it’s not negotiable.”

However, someone was ready to negotiate (note that a little tarsier was again seen catching an insect before this conspiracy scene was presented)
Who was it that said Sherri looked like Sandra Bullock? Well, this scene presented Sherri doing her best “Sandra Bullock talking to Michael Oher” imitation. If it wasn’t for the ocean, then the scene is very reminiscent of the one where Bullock rushed onto the football field in her high heels to tell Oher that he needed to block as if he was protecting his family.

Sherri, talking to Shamar: “We have Michael, Laura, Julia and…Matt. I can tell you now: They want you with us.”
Shamar was happy to join the team.
<Sherri had a confessional inserted here>
Sherri told him to continue to do what he does and he’d be fine
She added an important warning: “Don’t get paranoid if I am not standing besides you or hanging with you. I am telling you that we need you, that we want you on our side.”
Shamar was so happy that he gave her a hug.

Sherri’s confessional inserted in the middle of this: “I feel good about the 6: Laura, Julia, Shamar, Mike and Matt. We are solid. That’s my gang and it’s us six against the foursome, the couples, the lovers the whatever you want to call them. I am not letting go of my boy Shamar. He needs to be right here in my back pocket. I want Shamar to keep annoying people because Shamar is my Phillip. I want to keep my Phil around and I get along with my Phil. I can stroke him, I can put him back in place.”

With this scene, Sherri takes on the role of a key player this season. Just by letting us hear that Shamar was her Phillip, her story takes an option to the Finale. Phillip was Rob’s ticket to the end so we have to consider that Sherri might imitate him. One thing for certain, he will protect her from a blindside because anyone going after Sherri will vote out Oher…I mean Shamar, first.

Bikal – Day 4

Brandon was sitting with Cochran telling him he had been planning on sabotage but that he changed his mind upon waking: “I would be known as a quitter.”

Cochran then had a confessional: “One of the most frightening things about Brandon’s personality is that he has these moments of extreme rage and they are almost immediately followed by unbelievable pleasantness. The sort of behavior befitting a murderer who is sort of sociopathic. What I can predict about Brandon is that he is going to be unpredictable and that gives me very little solace in this game where predictability really is everything.”

They called Phillip over and Brandon asked if he could be trusted.
Phillip honestly, stupidly, said he had to pause before answering that.

Phillip’s confessional was shown: “Brandon is narcissistic. That is the word I would use for him. When you deal with a narcissistic person, they don’t have the empathy for others. At the end of the day, there is something I find very disturbing about him. To me, that is…I think someone used to word for me last year: Crazy.”

Note that we saw Brandon get up and leave during the voice-over portion of this confessional. By then, Cochran had already left while Malcolm was sitting in on the conversation. How long did it last? What else was said? What we can say of this chopped up scene is that it looked bad for both Brandon and Phillip but it showed that Cochran was above it all, remaining objective and analytical even in the middle of these two.

After Phillip’s confessional, we joined Brandon as he arrived back in camp, telling Corinne and Erik that Phillip was the biggest bully he had met in his life.

Brandon then gave us his thoughts: “You don’t want to fight with me. Special agent Pink Panther, inspector Gadget, thought he could pull his special agent tricks but that is going to be his downfall in this game. When it comes down to it, I have to give it everything that I have these next couple of days. If I don’t, I am gone.”

Dawn intervened to tell him that there was still time for everybody to work together but the camera showed us Brandon behind a cloud of smoke, indicating that he won’t see his way clear to work with others.

The cloud of smoke looked like an indication that it’s already too late for Brandon but the scene included someone else that could use the time to work with the others. Erik isn’t lost in a cloud of smoke, he is using Brandon as a shield to get off the radar.

The Challenge:

The Fans couldn’t believe that Francesca had been voted out while Phillip couldn’t plant the flag properly.
Jeff turned to Michael who had the biggest reaction when he saw that Fran wasn’t there.
Michael told Jeff: “They came to play, they are vicious people. She was the first person voted out in her previous season and they voted her out first: No mercy.”

With fishing gear as reward, we knew Bikal would win because Malcolm was shown wearing the mask in the opening credits!

Laura was sent to warm the bench, telling us which player the Fans think is the weakest. That was the only good decision they made. The Favorites won mostly because they put Erik in the water portion. With Brenda and Andrea also going under water, the Faves were able to rotate their players nicely. Their early lead carried them to victory.

Sherri was the one that went underwater the most for the Fans, “trying to do it herself” were Jeff’s words. She could have been blamed a lot more for this loss. Instead, it was edited as a team loss. That bodes well for Sherri. On the other hand, Jeff congratulated the Favorites as a whole when he could have credited either Erik, Brenda or Andrea individually. None deserved to get our attention.

As he left the challenge area, Reynold was heard in confessional: “I was thinking less about the loss than about Shamar having to go. He is a cancer. Everyone thinks that he is disrespectful, he is lazy. He doesn’t contribute and he ruffles feathers for no reason. Tonight’s vote is an obvious vote for Shamar.”

Showing this paints Reynold as someone who isn’t aware of what is really going on.

Bikal – Day 5

sat down for a confessional: “The Favorites won their first immunity and the reward was the fishing gear…It’s pretty exciting.”

Using the excuse of needing firewood, Phillip went for a walk in the woods with Malcolm where he told him about the nicknames.
Malcolm was all smiles.

Phillip then delivered a confessional: “In season 22, Redemption Island, I had an operation called Stealth-R -s. Now, for unseen reasons, we have expanded our operation here in the Philippines. Therefore, I have given each a name.”

Malcolm, the “Enforcer”, then told us what he thought of the “organization”: “I don’t know what’s going through Phillip’s head. He thinks he’s running some sort of corporation, a spy corporation and he is just really getting ridiculous.” It may be ridiculous but we saw that the members of the “corporation” were enjoying their roles. The end of Malcolm’s confessional explained their feelings: “But, if it’s Stealth-R-Us for a couple of days and it makes people happy; why not? If it’s Stealth-R-Us for the entire game, I am going to hang myself. Phillip Sheppard’s an insane person.”

Still the scene ended with someone saying: “I like it. That was cool.”

The episode showed us that Phillip’s grip on the tribe and on his mind are both slipping but we have no reason to think he will leave soon. People are humoring him and it serves their purpose so why not carry on?


Eddie was the first to point to the reason of the Favorites’ success: They spread out their strengths.
Michael agreed, saying no one was ready to take charge.
Shamar said “it is what it is.”
In front of everyone, Reynold called out Shamar, calling his behavior childish.
<Allie’s confessional was inserted here>
Shamar asked Reynold what he would do about it.
Reynold said he would vote against him.
That didn’t bother Shamar in the least.

Allie’s confessional: “It stinks that we are going to Tribal Council but I can’t stand Shamar so…I never understood why people would throw a challenge until I lived with him for 5 days. It never crossed my mind until I met him. I pray he goes home tonight.”

This scene and the upcoming vote offer a very interesting study in editing. I would venture to say that many in the audience would have liked to see Shamar leave but were ready to agree with the decision to boot Allie instead. She wasn’t edited as a Victim but as a Dumb Player. One that thought she knew the game and had what it took to live out there for 39 days but made the classic mistake of pairing up in an obvious fashion with a strong guy. Reynold himself isn’t shown to be that smart. Yes, he won a challenge for the Fans, yes he will soon find an idol but he was much too close to Allie and he was dumb enough with his idol that everyone found out about it.

The cuddling scene could have been cut out because it wasn’t the reason why Allie was voted out. According to Laura who pointed the gun at her, she had to go because she was the smartest one of the couples. The cuddling scene was only shown to make Reynold and Allie look dumb (and it may have been fabricated! The real couple, we will soon hear, is Eddie and Hope!) This kind of manipulation is what I look for to unearth the winner and I’d say that the winner is probably in this alliance. Certainly not Shamar because he is another type of Dumb Player but Sherri, Laura, Matt and Michael all benefited: They didn’t eliminate a Victim so they won’t get blamed. They are seen as determined people who came to play just like the Favorites.

: “Reynold made a dramatic scene. It came out of nowhere and he did it in front of everybody. I just felt like he knows him and the three other people in his alliance are in a short situation so he tried to make a scene to make me look bad so that people would want to vote for me and keep his alliance in the game for one more challenge.”

Shamar then went on the offensive, yelling at Reynold: “Do you think I didn’t know? You mean you weren’t going to vote for me before today? As if today was like: Now we are going to vote for Shamar. I look like Booboo the fool to you? We’ll see what happens tonight.”

This tells us that Shamar was quite confident about the vote’s outcome. All the last minute hesitations we were about to see probably happened at an earlier time because Shamar had to rely on more than Sherri’s word to be so sure of himself. These scenes and Matt’ confessional may have happened before Reynold’s fight with Shamar.

The suspense building scenes started with Reynold, Eddie and Matt talking about Shamar. Matt was confirming that he was with them, that he had enough with Shamar: “I can’t wait to write his name down. I’m with you guys obviously, with Hope and Allie.”

Matt’s confessional wasn’t as definite: “It’s time for our first Tribal Council and I have two choices right now. Michael and I have a really strong bond and if I told Michael right now that I think it’s better to go with Hope, Allie, Eddie and Reynold, that he would follow suit. My other option is to go with Sherri, Julia, Shamar and Laura. I just need to make a decision and it’s not going to be an easy one.”

We then had Michael asking Sherri if it was going to be Shamar or one of them.
Sherri was adamant that it had to be one of them.
Matt wasn’t as decisive: “Even if we vote Shamar out, we still have a 5-4 advantage. If we vote out Shamar, everyone will be happy and the four of them will think that I am still with them.”
Sherri said Shamar was pissed off because his name was on the block adding: “Once he realizes he’s not going home, he’ll chill out.”
<Sherri’s confessional was heard here>
Laura joined them. They asked her for her opinion on the vote. She said they should eliminate Allie.
Michael said he was totally cool with that.
Laura then gave us a confessional

Sherri’s confessional: “Matt said he was kind of on the fence about voting out Shamar, it got me worried because I want to make sure that, when I go to sleep tonight, that Shamar is safe, laying next to me.”

Laura’s confessional: “Personally, I think Allie is a strategic threat. I think she is the only one out of the four pretty people that’s really thinking.”

Reynold’s Quest:

It started with a confessional: “Being a fan of the game, I know that Hidden Immunity Idols are part of the game. I assume that there is probably one out here and I definitely want it.”
Without much dramatic build-up, he found it in a tree: “This is too freaking crazy…I am going to tuck this thing away, make sure that nobody knows that I have it…I am really excited right now so I am trying to check myself, be smart about it, not walk back to camp with some giant, stupid grin on my face and a huge bulge in my pocket.”

This quest was a lot less dramatic than most of the previous ones. I’m inclined to think that Reynold’s idol will not play a huge role this season, it could even go to waste. The last part of the confessional was meant to tell us that Reynold should be viewed as a Dumb Player: He wants to keep it secret, even says he had to avoid showing the bulge that would soon tell Laura all she needed to know.

The tribe was in the shelter, wondering what to do before leaving for TC when Laura looked over at Reynold who was getting ready for the trip.

Laura’s confessional: “Just before we are about to leave for Tribal Council, I see a bulge in Reynold’s pocket and it seemed like there was definitely something in it. We all know that the only thing you would put in your pocket before TC is the Hidden Immunity Idol. So, I’m like: What’s going on here? Is this going to mess up our plan to get Allie off tonight because we all know that Allie and Reynold are really close and there is definitely a possibility that he could pass it to her and save her butt and we are trying to get her off. If he passes that idol to Allie, it will be Shamar going home and not Allie and that would screw us over. I’m pretty sure that I am the only one that knows but, at this point, there’s really not enough time to talk to the rest of our alliance so I am freaking out a little bit.”

There would have been time to talk to the others if the producers hadn’t pulled her into this late confessional. Production must have been happy with the way things were going, with Shamar staying to create more drama, so they whisked her away from Sherri, Matt and Michael in case she messed it up. Once production is happy with the way the vote is shaping up, they don’t let anyone talk anymore. Off to TC they go.

Tribal Council

Asked about playing with people that have little in common, Mike pointed out that Matt and Sherri both have families while the foursome found other common interests.
Allie said they were all in the same age group.
Shamar said that Eddie and Hope were a couple while Reynold and Allie were more part of a foursome.
Matt said he wasn’t concerned about the foursome.
Shamar told Jeff that 2 scoops of rice isn’t enough for him. He added that he made two tours in Irak and that he is used to the desert but he is also used to having leaders in the Marines while here it was more about individuals, that there wasn’t a team effort all the time.
Mike agreed that they were in trouble during the challenge because they didn’t position their players properly and no one made the decisions.
Reynold said that they had to be “one cohesive unit to win the challenges but that people were frustrated with Shamar’s critiques and Shamar sits in the shelter all day…that’s where the frustration comes.”
Jeff turned to Shamar, surprised that he was smiling at that.
Eddie intervened to say that Shamar spends 19 hours in the shelter in one day.
Shamar admitted that it was true, adding that he was outcast from day one because he is big and loud.
Laura told everyone that she saw something go down; a bulge from one pocket. She wouldn’t say who at first but Jeff said she was looking directly at Reynold.
Reynold took the idol out of his pocket which stunned Michael, Hope, Allie and Jeff. Sherri simply laughed because he had just sealed the deal.
Reynold said he was playing to beat the Favorites but he’d have to play the idol.
Jeff said that was great news for Shamar since it blew up in Reynold’s face.
Shamar was happy because the 4 had tried to vilify him.
Sherri said she was blown away but was still voting the way she had said she was voting…maybe.

Reynold didn’t play the idol.
With the vote split 6-4, Jeff sent the fans packing with these words: “In order to win this game, you have to get to the end. In order to get to the end, you have to beat the Favorites. In order to beat the favorites, you got to get it together.

The Story

Jeff told the Fans that they needed to get it together to beat the Faves but the story told us that both tribes are really messed up. They have conflicts both outside and inside their main alliance. Practically everyone came to play so it wouldn’t be surprising to see new alliances forming. It could be one of those new alliances that will carry the players to the end.

The Favorites have a leader that isn’t respected and they say there is still time for everyone to work together so we could see Stealth-R-Us collapsing but it does serve its purpose and it brings a smile to its members. Some players inside the alliance have been ignored just like Purple Kelly and Benry in LaFlor’s alliance. That isn’t a good sign for the alliance as a whole but it doesn’t mean that all its members are condemned.

In the Fans’ tribe, we find, in the same alliance, the four people who had contrasting confessionals in the opening. In previous seasons where people knew their tribes, the editors always set up conflicts, not alliances. In Tocantins, we heard first from Erinn and Tyson, then Sierra and Coach and these 4 butted heads all the way to the end.
Here, we can expect a showdown between Sherri and Matt. He made it clear that he is playing both sides so that makes him both dangerous and expendable. Reynold, Eddie and Hope have more reason to be angry at Matt than at Sherri and Laura, the ones that went after Allie. The obvious way to bring the tribe together is to get rid of Shamar but Sherri could try to keep her “left tackle” in the line-up by getting Reynold to boot Matt. How will that play out? Would that bring Michael and Matt to work with Reynold?

What’s interesting is that both tribes are mirror images of each other. We don’t have contrasting tribes like the fractured Samburu versus the united Boran or the regimented LaMina going against the Crazy Casayas. It’s more like Timbira versus Malakal: Two tribes that could do so much infighting that they open the door to their rivals. How does that work if both are letting the other win?! Losers take all?

The Characters

The Unemployed: These players aren’t part of the “corporations” and have slipped into virtual anonymity.

: This cheerleader will need more than a little dance to get inside the alliance. We still haven’t gotten inside her head, heard her thoughts on the game so she could easily be booted soon.

Hope: We have heard even less from this beauty queen. She will either be used as a vote to get rid of Shamar or she will be the corporation’s next target.

Erik: He is in a similar position to Brenda but we have heard what he thinks of Phillip and we have seen him with Brandon which tells us that he will be shielded from a boot by the nephew’s explosions. If Erik hangs around long enough, the corporation could turn back to him to replace the unruly “Enforcer”.

Eddie: Like Erik, we have heard from this player even if he finds himself outside the main alliance. He could use Reynold as a shield long enough to find a way inside the alliance or another, more profitable, organization.

The Rival Leaders: These two would like to arrange a hostile takeover but do they have the backing?

: As Cochran said, Hantz’s bipolarity is much too unpredictable to follow his business plan or use him as part of a sound strategy. He said it himself: He should be the next to go unless he does something big to prove his value in challenges.

Reynold: Much like Shamar in the first episode, there is a contradiction in Reynold’s edit that makes it hard to determine his longevity. He was the tribe’s narrator and he showed some skills at this game, winning a challenge and finding an idol but we also see that he is unaware of what is really going on. We heard him say that everyone was eliminating Shamar but Shamar knew that Reynold was acting out of desperation. If Reynold was desperate, if he knew that it was 6 against his 4, then the editors went out of their way to portray him as being clueless and that is even worse than actually being clueless.

The Employees: They follow along to varying degrees of satisfaction:

Julia and Corinne
: There isn’t much to say about the two Brunettes. It’s especially troubling for Corinne who does give great confessionals and must have had something interesting to say about being called a “Dominatrix” on National TV. I’d guess that she is enjoying it and that she likes the “corporation”. Hearing that would make us like her and the alliance maybe more than we should so it goes unmentioned, unimportant. There is always one forgotten character that turns out to be a long term players but they rarely have an impact in the game. Unless we hear more from these two soon, then we can dismiss their chances.

Shamar: He was ecstatic to get inside Sherri’s line-up and probably even more when all she asked of him was to continue rubbing everyone the wrong way. Can Shamar last as long as Phillip did in RI? I really doubt it because Phillip was actually a big worker in RI. He tended fire and collected wood while Natalie and Ashley were the ones (shown as) doing nothing. Todd had an alliance with Jean Robert that was cut short out of necessity so I expect that Sherri will do the same: Sacrifice her big guy for something better.

Malcolm: The Tribe’s Enforcer is much less docile than Grant in the original Stealth-R-Us alliance. He can endure Phillip for a few more days but I don’t think he will have much allies to pull a coup d’état. Erik is waiting for a job so Phillip may turn to him yet again in search of a new challenge champion.

The VPs: They have the ideas but for how long will their voices be heard?

Twice now, we have seen that Laura is the observant one instead of Michael: She told us about the couples’ alliance and she spotted Reynold’s idol. In contrast, we saw Michael’s stunned reaction when Reynold showed his idol. Can this little strategist surprise us and outlast Michael? I’m certainly thinking it will happen that way. Her main problem is that she is perceived as the weakest one so she can’t afford a losing streak.

Andrea: I put her here only because of her strong opening episode but, in this episode, she only had her challenge performance to justify any cheers by her fans. Was her good premiere only due to the votes she received at the end? It’s possible but Andrea is still in a very nice position. Brandon, Erik and Brenda all knew that she had played both sides but she received no blame for eliminating Fran. Usually, no news isn’t good news in editing but maybe this is an exception.

The Shareholders: They have their money invested in the Corporations but they could swing another way.

: Did she lose the game by eliminating Francesca? Strangely, it sounded like something the editors wanted to throw in there to say that Production hadn’t made a mistake in casting Fran: They simply didn’t expect this vicious move. But, for Dawn, I feel the damage is done. She was the one that the recap blamed for siding against Fran and she was only heard crying at her own situation instead of showing sympathy to her victim. We heard her say: “I would never do that to someone” but what she did to Fran was worse than what Brandon said to her.

Cochran: Not only does he have a good rapport with everyone in the alliance but we see that he gets along with Brandon, that he even knows how to handle him. We can seriously ask ourselves if he is doomed by Brandon’s words but, for now, he still holds a good hand.

Michael: Despite showing some awareness after the challenge and during Tribal Council, I didn’t really like Michael’s portrayal in this episode. If we go back to Matt’s confessional, we have a sense that Matt is the brains in this pair. After all, Matt made sense at the end of the last episode, saying they didn’t need to scramble just yet, If Matt can actually tell Michael what to do then that isn’t a very good sign for someone that was presented as a strategist. Michael was also presented as someone that is observant yet the camera made a point of showing his stunned reaction at the sight of the idol. We are subtly being told that Michael isn’t that smart.

Matt: His role grew a lot in this episode yet he was seen as being very hesitant. It was even more damaging that he told Sherri he was close enough to the couples that he could fool them into thiking he was with them. He will never be comfortable in an alliance with Shamar so there will have to be a confrontation between him and Sherri soon. I’d be inclined to think that Sherri, the more determined player of the two, will eventually come out on top. She may have to sacrifice Shamar to gain more power but I feel she will handle Matt as easily as Shamar.

The CEOs: The Bosses are making risky decisions:

: We see that the crazy Phillip isn’t far from the surface. He is still in a good position but he is so polarizing that he should soon see his backers putting their money in a new corporation. With no mention in the recap of his BR rules and showing him having a direct conflict with Brandon in this episode, we can say that the Pink Panther won’t keep his alliance together to the end.

Sherri: She is the boss of Gota’s corporation and the editors manipulated the story to make us accept her role in eliminating Allie in order to save Shamar. Most viewers will agree that she came to play and did it smartly instead of thinking that she bullied her way to the top. That means we are encouraged to cheer for her instead of wanting her demise. Not everyone will react this weay of course but editing is mostly concerned about justifying the actions of the winner and no one can say she made a bad move despite what Jeff said at the end of TC. It’s also interesting to see that Sherri was sparred the blame of causing Gota’s loss in the challenge. As noted above, that bodes well for her.

Can she make it to the end with Shamar in her back pocket? Just by game analysis, we can say that it would be very hard to do but Shamar can serve her purpose also by being sacrificed. Her story depends much more on how she handles Matt or, more accurately, how she is portrayed while dealing with Matt. If, again, we are encouraged to cheer for her as she gets rid of an opponent, then we’d have our top contender.

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02-23-13, 04:53 PM (EST)
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17. "RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
Interesting take as always, michel.

Reynold: Much like Shamar in the first episode, there is a contradiction in Reynold’s edit that makes it hard to determine his longevity. He was the tribe’s narrator and he showed some skills at this game, winning a challenge and finding an idol but we also see that he is unaware of what is really going on. We heard him say that everyone was eliminating Shamar but Shamar knew that Reynold was acting out of desperation. If Reynold was desperate, if he knew that it was 6 against his 4, then the editors went out of their way to portray him as being clueless and that is even worse than actually being clueless.

I didn't think either desperate or clueless were portrayed, though of the two clueless would be closer to the mark. What I saw was misplaced certainty, which speaks to how well Matt played both sides. Where Reynold was fooled was in that he thought Shamar would be a unanimous vote-off because everyone was annoyed by him and didn't like him. But, as we also saw, Matt did make an effort to swing the Shamar vote, pointing out that an alliance of five still outnumbered an alliance of four; it just didn't take, leaving Matt the choice of voting Allie or making it a tie vote. A tie vote in their first TC would be one of the worst things that could happen to a tribe.

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02-23-13, 06:30 PM (EST)
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18. "RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
Thank you, Dabo,

I think we have to believe Shamar when he said that Reynold was making a desperate effort to change the vote. His frustration, his animosity had all the makings of a last-ditch attempt. With Shamar spending 19 hours in the shelter, it wouldn't have been hard to arrange for a pow-wow to talk about eliminating him. I'm guessing Reynold tried that first but didn't get anywhere.

As for Matt playing both sides well, you only do that if both sides don't know you are doing it. The vote told Reynold that Matt is a liar while Sherri knows that Matt wants Shamar gone. That, to me, is playing both sides poorly.

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02-23-13, 08:09 PM (EST)
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19. "RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
I don't think we have to believe Shamar at all. Reynold made the public group scene thinking everyone wanted Shamar gone, per his game Shamar just spins it back at Reynold in order to further annoy and antagonize the guy. It's just game.

Shamar's usefulness to Sherri is in part being a vote magnet, so it really doesn't matter that she knows Matt would like him voted out, Julia and Laura and Michael also probably think Shamar is just a vote and the most expendable member of the alliance. Whereas the tie vote prospect (and the fact that he did bring up voting out Shamar to Sherri) allows him to continue to work with Eddie, Hope and Reynold. Since Reynold holds the HII that makes Matt valuable to both sides.

Both sides should be more wary now, of course, but with Matt and Michael secretly working together they just need to figure out what is best for them and make sure things go that direction.

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02-23-13, 09:01 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
But Shamar said that Reynold was desperate in confessional, not to annoy Reynold.
Anyway, the important thing is that Reynold wasn't made to look particularly smart in this episode. Do you agree on that?

As for: "Shamar's usefulness to Sherri is in part being a vote magnet, so it really doesn't matter that she knows Matt would like him voted out...

This is a game about trust. To work both sides, Matt needs to be trusted. Sherri knows that he was close to the couples and that he has plans of his own. That's really bad for Matt. Time will tell if he playing both sides well. He looked very hesitant for a mastermind.

How secret do you think is Matt and Michael's alliance?

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02-23-13, 09:27 PM (EST)
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21. "RE: Episode 2 - They Came To Play:"
LAST EDITED ON 02-23-13 AT 09:28 PM (EST)

The Kewl Kids in general have been edited as playing not particularly smart just by being so obviously the Kewl Kids hanging out together. I think Eddie and Reynold were counting too much on their own challenge value, which may keep them in the game quite awhile because they can be used as shields post-merge.

Hope, of course, has just been invisible.

Matt seems to talk to and get along with everyone, even takes Shamar in stride. So, yeah, he and Michael being a team may be a surprise to the rest of them. Matt is not a threat as long as he is seen as a lone wolf type just doing his own thing because that's his nature.

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03-02-13, 07:14 PM (EST)
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22. "Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
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 alright 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 that has stopped talking about God, Instead, we heard him speak in a high-pitched, almost satanic voice to threaten Phillip. The two will have a showdown from which we expect even the victor will come out mortally wounded.

A Poker Game.

Gota – Night 5

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 #####, 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 Irak, 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 that 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

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

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 role. What makes this scene more interesting is that, in the very next one, Corinne will suddenly become a target. Such 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

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! 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

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 Irak. Shamar then told us about seeing suicide bombings and friends in body bags while in Irak. 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 Irak. 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:

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. ( )


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 in 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.

Hope’s 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 had a 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 her 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.

Jeff asked Reynold about the fall out following the previous TC,
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. 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 that would get involved more 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 only served 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 needed 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…yes, let’s say comfortable, following a beautiful woman.

Shamar: He said he would fight for his girls a few more days so the question of quitting will probably resurface. What would happen in a swap where Shamar would wind 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:

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 that 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 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 that 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 that was supposed to be a strategist, we haven’t heard Michael’s thoughts about his own game for two episodes now. We only heard him as the voice of reason 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 that wasn’t shown talking to Andrea about her plan to eliminate Corinne. It sets up a situation where Dawn will have to decide where lies her loyalties 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 that is saved by the idol but it’s interesting that as soon as her story took off, she was put on the chopping block. This could be the 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 to eliminate Shamar. Did she ever consider voting against Shamar? I doubt it. I think she only wanted to make sure she wouldn’t received votes so she lied to Reynold, giving him, Eddie and Hope false hope. While 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, then she still stands 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:

: 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, comparing 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. As the Fan that 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 one that 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.

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

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AaronLittleton 123 desperate attention whore postings
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03-03-13, 08:28 PM (EST)
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23. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
Thanks for the great recap Michel! And the others too (& congrats on contributing to Rob's blog!)

Here's a few thoughts to add to some of your comments on the players.

>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 that is saved
>by the idol but it’s
>interesting that as soon as
>her story took off, she
>was put on the chopping
>block. This could be the
>sign of a very short
>story arc because Andrea’s story
>has received more investment.

Great point that right when we get Corinne's story beginning we also hear from Andrea about her need to target Corinne sooner than later. In light of the BR rules in ep 1 (even though they haven't been referred to again) it looks like the Andrea/Philip pairing are wanting to pull this off. In their season they were schooled a certain way on how to play Survivor (and we all witnessed Rob's tutorial on how to play in a Machiavellian fashion). If they do follow along with Rob's playbook, they may indeed target someone who's deemed threatening within there own alliance of 6, rather than someone outside of it. Andrea & Philip are very familiar with this - and there roles are now different. In RI, Andrea was part of the threatening pair within the alliance, and Matt was booted. Now with her assuming the power role (ala Boston Rob) she is setting her sights on this season's similar pair, Corinne & Malcolm. Interestingly, she is looking to target the player in her previous position - whereas BR was more threatened by Matt, Andrea might be more threatened by someone her own gender, pointing to Corinne. Without the BR rules, they might have simply gone ahead and voted out Brandon. But as we heard from Andrea, he would be just as loyal than Corinne. Interestingly, Philip was on the same page with this - which makes sense as Philip was in Brandon's role in RI as the one swapped into the alliance. Which leaves us to wonder: Are they trying to repeat RI's gameplay this time around?

>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.

Regarding Malcolm, it does seem like something is lacking in his story, yet he doesn't seem in danger. If I remember correctly, both Amanda and Rupert, had much lighter edits initially when they came to represent the second time in their back-to-back seasons. They both ended up going pretty far in their second installments, so this still could be good for Malcolm's longevity. (And regarding the back-to-back season players, I won't mention Russell, as he was an anomaly)

>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 to
>eliminate Shamar. Did she ever
>consider voting against Shamar? I
>doubt it. I think she
>only wanted to make sure
>she wouldn’t received votes so
>she lied to Reynold, giving
>him, Eddie and Hope false
>hope. While 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,
>then she still stands 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.

I agree, I don't think Laura ever had intentions of voting off Shamar either. I also think it was a smart move for Laura to do what she did (and it worked out for her benefit) In terms of looking bad to Reynold, it's nothing that Matt hadn't already done to him in the previous TC (and we didn't see Matt getting any slack for that) Laura can simply say that she decided not to risk going against the majority. Regarding showing that she's too strategic to Sherry, et al. - it could be that they decided this as an alliance, and Laura was simply the one to orchestrate. In which, Sherry would actually prefer this, as it allows Laura to put herself in the precarious situation. However it may have unfolded, these weren't major hick-ups for her and nothing that Laura couldn't easily talk herself out of. In terms of editing, I think it's great for Laura that we're seeing her have to jockey her position so early in the game. She is proving to be one of the strongest "young female blonde" players we've seen. An anti-purple Kelly, if I dare say. I like her, and I enjoy the attention she's getting. She was ep 3's confessional leader with a 5 count. And while she didn't speak at TC, there were lots of cuts to her at key times in the discussions.

>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. As the
>Fan that seems to be
>playing with the assurance of
>a veteran, Sherri
looks to
>go deep in this game.
Sherry also had a good episode - a nice follow-up to her star performance last time. She definitely was in the mix and seemed very attentive to the discussion at tribal, even was integral when Jeff was able to go to her to punctuate what was happening with Shamar. I love that you mention that she is the fan that seems to be playing with the assurance of a veteran. This could be very good for her portrayal, just like we saw with "heroic villains" and "villainous heroes" in H vs. V. Great point as well that we're hearing more than just narration from Sherry when she shares to the camera. She's definitely got social skills and understanding of the game, and I'm glad we're seeing it all.

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

And then we have Cochran, the perfect fan/favorite hybrid, and clearly showcased as such with his confessional in ep 3. Cochran is looking great for his longevity this season. I'm really interested in his relationship with Andrea. Somehow, she is convinced that the Corinne/Malcolm pairing is more dangerous than the Cochran/Dawn pairing. I believe there's a good chance that Cochran nurtured his relationship with Andrea, as we've seen her a number of times talking about her plans in front of him. It will be interesting to see if Cochran will lay low and continue to observe when Bikal has to face their next TC.

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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03-03-13, 10:32 PM (EST)
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24. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
Thank you Aaron,

When I read your comment about Rupert and Amanda, I went to check Survivor Sucks' visibility charts for S7, S8, S15 and S16 and Rupert was actually more prominent in the first three episodes of All Star than in PI. Amanda had identical visibility numbers in episodes 1 and 3 while her second episode in China was only a bit better. (That's when she formed an alliance with Todd and Aaron and had the title quote)

Malcolm went 3 times to TC last time so that always brings up visibility numbers but even if we only look at the pre-immunity challenge footage, Malcolm is almost invisible especially considering he had to be shown finding the idol.

Malcolm doesn't feel like a long term player to me.

While we're talking visibility, I feel Laura was too visible. It makes me think that she could be the evacuated player. I certainly hope not because, as you say, she has an interesting edit.

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AaronLittleton 123 desperate attention whore postings
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03-03-13, 11:48 PM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
Thanks for checking on the previous visibility charts for Rupert and Amanda!

By lighter edits, I was referring to the content of their edit, as much as visibility factors - although of course visibility is key too. Like you state with Malcolm's comparison of his 2 seasons, one's tribe going to TC plays a factor for their visibility. Rupert wasn't shown as much in the first 3 eps of PI as for Allstars simply because the Morgans went to tribal those 3 eps, and in Allstars, Rupert's tribe went to 2 out of 3 of the first TCs, so this contrast would certainly create the imbalance of visibility.

Whereas in terms of content, or how the editors were trying to have us perceive the castaways, pre-merge on PI, Rupert had his own story and was clearly one of the bigger characters of his tribe. Amanda in China was carved out to be part sweetheart/part strategist and a more prominent member of her tribe with Todd. In their following seasons, they fell to a second tier in terms of billing time for the 'cast' for pre-merge episodes, especially as there were always other returnees that were getting more editing time. I think Malcolm is getting that similar second tier airtime billing. Despite being so popular last season, he's not getting top billing over on the Favorites tribe, like Philip and Brandon are. But he's not getting limited viewing like Erik and Brenda. I'm thinking his middle-of-the-road, consistent edit might be good for him in terms of longevity. It may just mean he's safe for this first act, but it may get him through the second act also - when/if there is a tribe mix-up. I'm leaning toward him staying consistent as we've already had possible boot talk about Brandon and Corinne as the next Bikal to go. You never know, the story can change quickly in a tribe mix-up. Malcolm's part of the majority now & has an idol, so there is some still left to play out for him. It would be crazy (and really crappy for Malcolm) if that all got wrapped up for him in one episode, but it's not impossible.

As for Laura, I'll be very surprised if she is castaway that's evacuated. We have not gotten any hints that it could be her. I'm getting the sense that she got a lot of attention this episode so that we remember her when we are later in the game. Especially if other things happen - like drama at Bikal if they go to TC. Gamewise, she's in one of the best spots for endgame longevity - one of the weaker players in a dominant alliance. If she makes it to the merge, others who can dominate challenges will be targeted before her. I think her edit can still be consistent with this course of action. I think she's being highlighted, along with Sherry, the past 2 eps since the spotlight was on Gota going to tribal twice, and both women seem to have the most accurate depiction of what is happening with tribal dynamics - hence the narrator duties and visibility during the key discussions.

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03-04-13, 00:11 AM (EST)
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26. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"

>As for Laura, I'll be very
>surprised if she is castaway
>that's evacuated. We have
>not gotten any hints that
>it could be her. I'm
>getting the sense that she
>got a lot of attention
>this episode so that we
>remember her when we are
>later in the game. Especially
>if other things happen -
>like drama at Bikal if
>they go to TC.
>Gamewise, she's in one of
>the best spots for endgame
>longevity - one of the
>weaker players in a dominant
>alliance. If she makes it
>to the merge, others who
>can dominate challenges will be
>targeted before her. I
>think her edit can still
>be consistent with this course
>of action. I think
>she's being highlighted, along with
>Sherry, the past 2 eps
>since the spotlight was on
>Gota going to tribal twice,
>and both women seem to
>have the most accurate depiction
>of what is happening with
>tribal dynamics - hence the
>narrator duties and visibility during
>the key discussions.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's Laura - I agree that someone like Shamar would be a better bet to be the evacuee, but I think there *has* been hints that Laura could be a medievac. For one, she got a big uptick in confessionals that sometimes indicate that one is about to leave the game pretty soon.

As well, we heard from her talk about how she struggled mightily in the last challenge - why hear from her about that and not about Cochran's own struggle? Sure, Gota was going to TC but Laura's weakness was never brought up by the tribe or at TC, except when Laura brought it up herself. Perhaps a hint setting the stage to the viewer when looking back? She had a big role in Episodes 2 and 3 when it came to the boots (deciding it would be Allie in 2, discussing with Julia in 3) so the editors may have felt they needed to drop a hint as the viewers are more heavily invested in Laura than they were with, let's say, Dana from last season.

In addition, notice how she sat down at Tribal Council after voting? Very deliberate motion to turn around, reach out with her hand and then sit down, might she be displaying a worsening medical condition? Certainly a lot of assumption, yes, but something worth keeping in mind while trying to analyze whether Laura could be an medievac. Physically she's not built to play Survivor, even if she's doing a pretty good job mentally.

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03-04-13, 01:32 AM (EST)
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27. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
Wow, Pepe, you give some great food for thought here about Laura being the med-evac!

I must say, I might've overlooked such signs as I think Laura is my favorite on the Fans tribe right now, and I'm glad we finally have a young blonde female that actually has her head in the game of Survivor. I sure hope she can hold up.

Still, I don't see production giving her all this attention if she were evacuated as soon as ep 4. We already saw how they edited the other two blondes from this tribe. Not only did Hope get just 1 confessional, but it was so late in her boot episode. Laura getting all that attention, while being the next to leave from Gota, would just be way too inconsistent of an editing pattern within this succession of episodes in the same season - even by Survivor standards.

I must say though, I have no strong idea who would be getting evacuated. My guess, if it were from the fans tribe, that it would be Shamar - as he has had such a manipulated edit (although we all know he is the type of "character" that would be milked for all he's worth no matter when he leaves) and we got that very sentimental music surrounding him when he was considering quitting (and subsequently staying for his girls). Then on the other end of the spectrum we have someone like Julia, who has received the least attention out of those left on Gota. So, I would go with one of these extremes at this point in the game.

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03-04-13, 03:00 AM (EST)
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28. "RE: Episode 3 - A Poker Game"
I don't know who will be the (basically they told us in promos there will be one) medical evacuee. But I think it important here to distinguish between production and editing. Production (CBS/SEG) always prep the general audience for a medical evacuation if possible, and by whatever means at their disposal. Editing, on the other hand, presents the stories of the season. If the materiel is there to forewarn a medical evacuation in editting, in story, yeah maybe you can see it coming. If not, well so be it. Colton's "appendicitis" in One World had no story prior to that episode. We were still forewarned.
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03-08-13, 07:48 PM (EST)
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29. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
LAST EDITED ON 03-08-13 AT 07:53 PM (EST)

I was just watching the most recent episode as I only saw about half of it on Wednesday with other things going on around the house. Noticed something interesting that would provide some fodder for the editors...

During the immunity challenge, Sherri was shown as failing to break the tile on her first attempt then making a second jump, but for Michael, we were only shown one jump from him - and it's clear it was a second jump (at least two) because you can see in a very brief shot that he was swinging at a fragment of the original tile.

So the question becomes, why show Sherri failing on her first attempt and not Michael? Based on the early editing, Sherri seems like a more likely long-term player than Michael, so why not do it the other way around in hiding her first attempt and showing Michael's?

We were shown this first attempt in the pre-episode vidcaps with the arm angle clearly different:

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30. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
Yeah, I noticed that as well. But Michael was important to the story of the episode, especially when Matt decided to swing the vote against Laura. Sherri wasn't as important in this episode's story as she was in previous episodes. But she went first in the challenge and Gota were trying to catch up to Bikal from that point on.
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32. "RE: The Players, The Game, The Editing - Survivor Caramoan"
Interesting observation, Pepe.

I'd say that part of the reason was the order in which they ran. They had to show Sherri to explain why Bikal had a lead but they hid Michael's miss to make us think they still had a chance.

If you read my post, you'll see that I also think it was important to put Sherri next in line of weakness but not blame her too much about the loss.

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03-09-13, 06:55 PM (EST)
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31. "Episode 3: Have - Have Nots"
Jeff told us that, at the Fans’ camp, everything was upside down, the strong were on the bottom, while the alliance of the weak (Laura, Sherri and Matt shown) controlled the game.
< “It’s the revenge of the Nerds “>
While they couldn’t control was their ally Shamar. He threatened to quit but Sherri and Laura convinced him to stay.

At the Favorites’ camp, everything was working out (we see Phil…working out), spirits were high and Malcolm and Corinne found an immunity idol.

At the immunity challenge, Laura struggled and the Fans lost their second challenge in a row.
Facing Tribal Council, Laura convinced Reynold that the tribe was voting for Shamar again.
<We heard Reynold saying he had a good feeling about Shamar going home.”>
For the second Tribal council in a row, Shamar was spared and Eddie and Reynold were duped.

This was more like a reset than a recap. Forget that the couples were the foolish Kool Kids; by saying that everything was upside down, Jeff made it sound as if the nerds had no reason, didn’t even deserve, to be in charge. Laura was singled out as the only reason why the Fans lost even if, last week, we had seen that the Fans were in it to the very end, Eddie losing it in extremis to Brandon.

At the same time, none of the drama in Bikal mattered, everything was working out fine. Normally, I’d say the picture is too rosy over at Bikal but, with the way editing is going lately, maybe what we see is what we get.

Haves – Have Nots

Gota – Night 7

Eddie wanted to know where the tribe was headed.
Michael was first to reply but Sherri jumped in, saying they didn’t vote the way Eddie wanted them to vote.

Eddie in interview: “It’s mind boggling to me. We got rid of Hope because she was the prettiest one here and she was a threat to everybody because of that. Laura can’t lift 20 pounds, she’s still here, she’s the weakest link on our team. I don’t care too much for any of these people right now.”

Reynold told Laura that she made him feel like the biggest idiot ever. He then turned to the whole tribe: “I don’t want to be associated with any of you guys. I don’t respect you.”
Eddie added: “Get rid of me and Reynold and see how many challenges you win.”
Michael replied: “We’re not winning with you guys.”

Reynold gave us a confessional the next morning: “Now, it’s pretty much over for Eddie and I. Our backs are completely up against the wall. I have the immunity idol still so that’s going to protect me but Eddie could be screwed.”

Bikal – Day 8

Phillip had another occasion to give us his thoughts: “As the Specialist, one of the things you have to do – and Napoleon knew this when he went to Waterloo. He knew he couldn’t pay his troops, he knew he didn’t have money so he gave them names and honor. – When you obtain a name in Stealth-R-Us, it means that you are a person who is loyal. In the case of Brandon, I’ll give him a name but not in the reason that I would normally do it. It’s just to give him a sense that he belongs and, hopefully, as we say in the business, contain that threat.”

I don’t know if the book he’s peddling talks a lot about Napoleon but, if it were me, I’d quote Napoleon at Austerlitz, not at Waterloo! I’d rather follow the advice that led to the Emperor’s biggest victory instead of the ones that led to his defeat. Does it mean that Bikal, like “La Grande Armée”, is doomed? Maybe not but the Specialist is going to Ponderosa as certainly as Napoleon went to Saint Helena!

Phillip told Brandon he was impressed: “You have what it takes to be officially a member of Stealth-R-Us. Your name is…the Conqueror.”

Brandon then gave us his reaction: “It took me 9 days of kissing butt to infiltrate Special Agent Phillip’s alliance. Phillip is supposed to discern who’s lied to him. I’m lying to him. This secret agent sucks bad.”

Despite Brandon’s words, we heard why Phillip gave him that nickname and there was an animal shown during that scene that fell asleep once the pair shook hands. The message seemed clear: Phillip put Brandon to sleep long enough for Bikal to gain a strong majority and then the Conqueror becomes superfluous. That realization could be what leads to nest week’s meltdown.

Phillip then “christened” Erik the “Silent One”.

It seems that Erik’s lack of confessional isn’t strictly an editing choice!

In private, Andrea reacted: “It kind of makes me upset that Phillip gives people not in our alliance a name. He gave Brandon a name. OK! I like that idea actually. He should have come to me first but I like that Brandon has a name. But then, Phillip gives Erik a name. So what, are we going to give Brenda a name? I mean seriously.”

Sure enough, Brenda gladly became “Serenity”.
Andrea was shown trying to contain herself.

I wonder if Andrea was saying “Serenity now, Serenity now” but that wouldn’t work for her any more than it did for George! It would only upset her more. It’s noteworthy though that we still heard Andrea’s reaction to all this in an episode that meant nothing for the Favorites as far as game decisions were concerned. Should we make anything about seeing Andrea giving a headlock to Brandon and taking him down at the same time that Phillip called her the Eliminator? I don’t think there will be much strategy involved in eliminating Brandon. It should be a foregone conclusion but I will be keeping an eye on the role she’s given in that elimination.

Phillip had another confessional: “You can’t have an operation of this magnitude unless the Specialist is here in Caramoan island. That’s why I am here: To make sure we pull together as a cohesive unit and we continue to win challenges. That’s the goal.”

Note that there is no irony directly attached to this confessional because the Favorites did win the challenge. There was no kooky music heard during this whole scene so there is no long term foreshadowing. Despite Phillip’s goofiness, his “operation” is working. I also took note that his goal is strictly to win challenges so, by his own words, Phillip is disconnected from the end game. He will be in a nice place at the merge but then he will meet his Waterloo.

The Challenge:

For some reason, the cameras focused on Malcolm when Jeff announced that Hope had been eliminated. Remember that Hope had been the one shown reacting to Malcolm’s arrival. For payoff, I’ve seen much better…

Airai had “broken” this challenge the last time so Jeff told them that they couldn’t carry the girls this time. The ones holding the planks had to stay still while holding someone, moving only when there was no one on their plank.

Fun things to note:
- We heard Erik saying that he hates knots. Will that come into play later on?
- Andrea ordered her tribe to take bigger steps: “Go far, go far, really far.” Almost simultaneously, we heard the “shaky” Laura asking her helpers to come closer. The message was clear: Andrea is much stronger than Laura.
- The Faves said that Phillip had to go first on the platform. Does that mean he also leaves first?!
- This was the third time that we saw a whole tribe have to get together on a small platform. Shamar tried something new. That was weird and it made me wonder how many of them had seen this challenge before? The Faves had no problem doing it the whole fashioned way.

Reynold gave an interview after the challenge: “Laura slowed us down. Let’s just vote her off. She’s weak. Can we just move on? We have to start winning challenges or we’re all screwed.”

It’s rare that this confessional doesn’t result in the player giving it getting the boot. Again, no irony in the choice of confessionals. That’s a bad sign for the alliance of the nerds.

Bikal - Day 8: A Dinner and a Show

A 4 ft tall bushman named Tata came to the Favorites’ camp as their reward.

Cochran (solo): “So the Favorites won the reward challenge and we got to have a local bushman come to camp and show us ways of improving our camp as well as cooking a great feast for us.”

Malcolm (solo): “We were excited…Nothing could have prepared us for this little guy. His name is Tata…he’s 60 years old…and he didn’t mess around. It was entertaining to watch. We didn’t understand what he was saying. He was like a Filipino Gollom.”

Cochran: “We got to form a rapport…with Tata, we got a sense of how he functions…He created an unbelievable feast for us…He made it in a way that we could do it once he’s gone. A diner and a show and home improvement came with it.”

Andrea (solo): “I felt bad because the Fans keep losing and losing and this was a reward that they could have used. It boosted the morale of our tribe even more.”

Seeing Tata dance with Brenda and Andrea, Cochran told us: “Tata is a married man but that didn’t seem to impede him from getting his bumps and grinds with the women of the favorites’ tribe. Since he’s this bizarre woodland creature, he gets away with it. If I tried it, I’d be seen as a creepy predator.”

Tata did seem to enjoy hugging Brenda!

Gota – Day 8: A Dinner and a No Show

Michael was the one to tell us how the Fans felt: “We lost and I was so mad. The favorites have everything. They’ve won every reward. They have this bounty of stuff back at their camp. Sons of bitches, I was so mad. I didn’t anticipate losing so much.”

Eddie gave us his thoughts: “As soon as we came back from the challenge, Shamar went right back into the shelter. He doesn’t do anything. It’s just pure laziness. There’s no reason to be laying in the shelter for 19 hours. Shamar is the biggest pain in the ##### in this tribe.”

Everyone agreed with Eddie when Shamar said they’d have to bring him rice once a day.
Shamar walked away, Laura mocked him by saying: “Be my slave and then I’ll stay in the game.”

Reynold: “The other day, Shamar wanted to quit but he decided to stay. However, today he said “these are my terms: “I will stick it out if I can lay here in the shack and you will serve me rice at least once a day.” I’m thinking: How much longer can this go on?”

Sherri served him but not before saying: “I would never do this in my real life. I don’t even wait on my husband.”

Laura told us: “You can make it this deep, dark story of the Irak veteran as much as you want but that’s not it. I think Shamar is starving but, you know what? We’re all starving. Shamar is a big baby when it comes down to it.”

Then we heard Shamar complaining saying he had scratched his eyeball. That would lead to his evacuation.

Was the medical evacuation staged to give Shamar an “honorable discharge”? They never told us that Jimmy Johnson asked to be voted out so it’s possible. Counting Jerry Sims, he is the second war veteran to tell us that Burnett’s game is tough so one wonders if they were paid to say it!

However, we are here to analyze what was shown so, if we assume that Shamar really was injured, why repeat the laziness story? It showed that Bikal and Gota are total opposites: The Favorites are having fun and they are thriving. The Fans are miserable and folding. One scene was entertaining, the other not so much so why show it again?

There was already complaints about the season’s format because of the tremendous advantage enjoyed by returning players. Why give us more reasons to complain? At this point, the viewers expect the Favorites to come up on top so a win by any one of them would be tainted. Why do that? Unless a Fan wins. They are definitely the underdogs right now and which Fan finds herself in the biggest predicament?

Eddie was the first to have a confessional about Shamar’s injury. “Now everyone is realizing that he has to go which is great for me and Reynold.”

Gota – Night 9

The Fans were hit by a hurricane. An invasion of rats added to their misery. At least the rats weren’t abandoning Gota’s ship!

Michael had a black and white confessional: “We had a crappy night; never felt winds like that. Rats were crawling on us. We have cuts and scrapes and bruises, we’re hungry. It’s a hard game and now it’s even harder because we believe that Shamar is going to quit.”

The boat came in to end Shamar’s game.

Reynold had the last words on the subject: “It turns out it was very serious. That was my mistake. Still, he was disrespectful, he was lazy and I’m happy that he’s gone.”

There is a theme of respect building around the Fans and, while Shamar disrespected the people around him, Reynold didn’t show any respect to the war veteran even when he exited the game. Even Eddie, who had given Shamar respect while voting against him, was heard rejoicing at the prospect of seeing him leave. That’s a bad sign for both strong guys.

As soon as the boat left, we heard Matt and Michael saying that they were glad it was over.
Sherri wanted to be sure they were still voting out one of Reynold and Eddie.
Matt agreed.

Reynold had another confessional: “However, now that Shamar is gone, the majority alliance is going to jump right back into their premediated plan and they are going to knock out Eddie and I first. So, we have to win or one of us is going home.”

The Challenge

We saw the Favorites reaction at the news of Shamar’s exit but there was nothing special.
The camera showed Laura, Sherri and Michael when Jeff said they were down to seven and the music came to an abrupt stop, underlining their underdog status.

(With another challenge involving throws, I’d say Jeff Kent was on the wrong season!)

Running the first leg for the Favorites, we saw Erik taking a nasty fall just like in Micronesia. He hasn’t learned to protect himself!
Sherri had to go twice since she missed the key on her first jump. Note that, once more, nothing was said about costing them the win. We heard more about Laura’s difficulties than Sherri making them fall down a lap.
Brenda and Eddie were the ones that received compliments from Jeff.
Even if the Fans were well behind, Jeff still had to point out that Laura was having a hard time with the locks.

Gota – Day 10

Eddie (solo): “Me and Reynold are still on the outside of this tribe. I have a huge target on my back, Reynold feels the same way. If we don’t figure out a new plan, one of us is going home.”

Matt was in the jungle, talking to Michael: “The smartest thing would be to vote out Laura.”

Michael (solo): “I assumed we were going to get Reynold to play the idol and blindside Eddie but Matt is saying we need to keep the tribe strong and get rid of Laura. I’m thinking: There goes the alliance. I knew, as soon as the alliance was formed, that it wasn’t the alliance of the strong people but I trust Laura more than I trust Reynold and Eddie. It could be dangerous to lose her and leave this wild card, Mr. Awesome with the idol.”

Reynold (solo): “Matt said he wants to get the muscle back together to win some challenges… He’s bold faced lied to me on more occasions than I can count. I should probably play the idol tonight to save myself. However…if they do vote Laura, it’s idol wasted. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Laura had a confessional saying she knew her name was being thrown around. She could only trust in her alliance.

Matt told Sherri about his plan.

Sherri gave us her reaction: “When Laura’s name got brought up, I was not on board with it at all. First Shamar, now this. It feels like the alliance is falling apart. Also, if they keep saying they are picking off the weak and they need to keep the tribe strong well, of course the guys are always going to be stronger than the women so of course that concerns me.”

Sherri told Julia she didn’t like the idea of being the last 2 girls.

Michael had the last confessional before leaving for TC: “Tonight, I can either keep the tribe strong so that we can win challenges or hold on to my alliance and keep that strong. There’s no way to know what the right or wrong answer is going to be. I’m going to have to go with my gut and hope it works out.”

Tribal Council

Jeff started the discussion by asking about the tribe’s morale after Shamar’s departure.
Matt answered that there was less tension but it was bad because they lost a big guy.
After much thought, Sherri said she missed Shamar as a member of the alliance.
Reynold said they would have gelled sooner if they had voted out Shamar,
We saw Sherri laugh at the suggestion.
Jeff noted that the two guys outside the alliance were the two strongest guys.
Laura replied that the vote would come down to strength or loyalty. She was counting on the trust built over 10 days.
Jeff went back to Reynold who was shaking his head.
He said he couldn’t understand that it was all about trust. He asked: “Are you prioritizing winning or are you prioritizing losing?”
Sherri had the simple reply: “:But we’re still losing. Even with them, we’re still losing.”
Eddie hoped they would start winning after this. He told Jeff that he considered Sherri a weak player but that Julia was one of the stronger girls while Laura was the weakest.
Laura pointed out that there could be a swap in the next few days, saying she would be more loyal than Eddie and Reynold.
Eddie concluded by saying this was the make or break factor for the tribe.

Reynold played his idol and Laura was voted out.
Jeff left them by saying that time will tell if this was make or break.

The Story

This episode was a study of contrast: Over at Bikal we had a 100 pound bundle of energy who was working hard to make an already comfortable sojourn even more enjoyable.
At Gota, there was a 300 pound package of entropy who was not available for work and tended towards maximum disorder.
The result is a repeat of Moto versus Ravu and once again the Haves are dominating the challenges. In Fiji, the story had a nice ending, the winner overcoming the hardship and dominating the rich tribe once the real game of Survivor started.

Most viewers must be expecting to see Bikal’s domination continue but the editors showed so much of Gota’s troubles that a reversal of situation has to be expected. Before the season even started, viewers were saying that the returning players had an unfair advantage over the newbies so we’d expect the editors trying to show some difficulties over at Bikal. The hurricane had to hit both camps, a Favorite or two had to have a bad night but we didn’t see any of that. All the plagues of Egypt have befallen on Gota so one of their own must emerge out of this, no? If not, what’s the story? The Favorites had no opposition and won? I don’t see a best-seller there.

The thing to note however is that the narrators on Bikal aren’t the dumb ones, the Lisis, the Stacys or the Boos. Cochran, Andrea and Malcolm have had their say and were the ones that talked about the reward in this episode. Sure, Phillip has had his multitude of confessionals but Bikal has 5 ignored characters which tells us that, as a whole, it isn’t the tribe of interest. Koror, despite their string of victories, didn’t have this many players without a story. Moto had Liliana, Edgardo, Cassandra, Lisi, Stacy and Gary who were mostly forgotten in the first 3 or 4 episodes so I see a pattern there, And Bikal is a tribe of returning players, so that is even more troubling.

The Characters

The Dumb Players:

While Eddie has been shown to be more respectful than Reynold, we still heard him rejoicing at Shamar’s exit. We also heard him complaining that he didn’t understand why Laura was still there when he had never voted to eliminate her! The recap told us he had been duped. Add this to his poor premiere episode and we can say that Eddie, while outlasting Reynold, won’t win.

Reynold: He may not be the biggest idiot ever but he is on that list. The recap didn’t need to tell us he had been duped but somehow it was important for us to be reminded of it. He says he deserves to stay because he can help the tribe win challenges but we heard that they aren’t winning with him. Finally, he was voting with the majority but he still wasted his idol. We had noted that his quest for the idol had been presented in a very trivial manner and the idol turned out to be trivial.

Brandon: Even ignoring the previews (I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bikal throwing a challenge to boot the nephew just like Zapatera did to the uncle), Brandon was made to look dumb when he believed that he had infiltrated the alliance. Phillip’s confessional could have been cut short, not letting us hear that he was giving Brandon a nickname just to contain Brandon but we were in on the plot. That made the “Conqueror” look like a fool.

Phillip: Is he, like Napoleon, leading his troops to their Waterloo? For Phillip, the stupidity is more in the manner than the results because what Phillip says, Phillip does…For now! He told us he is good at basketball and he’s backed it up by strong challenge performances. He wanted to unite his tribe so that they could win challenges and they have. Phillip is doing a fine job. How long can that last?!! His game cannot end up any other way than in exile.

The Forgotten ones:

: For all of Gota’s trips to Tribal Council, it’s troubling that we don’t hear from her. Her role is that of an extra so her story arc will last at most an episode or two.

Erik: His alliance nickname explains a lot but doesn’t help us predict his outcome in the game. Other “Silent Ones” have made it far but none have ever won. Erik isn’t important to the story.

Brenda: Playing a quiet game, Brenda has everything to be cast in the role of the Sweetheart (Tata certainly thought so!) but she is being cruelly ignored. Does it mean that she is an upcoming boot? She already has survived passed her danger zone so why eliminate her now that Bikal doesn’t need brute strength? Like Andrea, she does well enough in challenges and has played her part in some challenge wins. Even if Brenda stays a while, her lack of airtime tells us she will never be an impact player.

Corinne: We were wondering if being put on the block by Andrea was the start of a story arc for Corinne but it wasn’t even that. It seems that Corinne was shown last week simply because she was there when Malcolm found the idol. She still doesn’t have a defined role in the story so she will go down without making an impact on the season.

Malcolm: He continues to have a small but regular presence. There are no long term story arcs associated with Malcolm except his idol but no one on the tribe is even talking about the idol. That tells me this idol, like Reynold’s, doesn’t play a big role and neither does Malcolm.

Dawn: Where is she? We really only heard her when she noticed that Shamar was missing. Her strong premiere gives her a better shot at an end game story than the other forgotten ones but her chances of winning have to be put in question.

The Defeated Players:

: He was the one that abandoned the alliance and went to Reynold and Eddie, hoping to win some challenges. We didn’t hear any confessionals from Matt to make us see that he was thinking further than the next immunity challenge and we heard Reynold say that Matt was a liar. None of that seems to be building a winner’s story.

Michael: His role increased in this episode but his confessionals were mostly narration. He told us how the tribe felt about the weather, the rewards, losing the challenges and breaking up the alliance. There was more defeat in his voice than hope. He wasn’t even presented as the strategist since he simply went along with Matt’s suggestion. Michael only has immediate concerns, no end game connections so we don’t see him as a long term player.

The Contenders:

: Our observer had a quiet episode but he was still the main narrator during the reward. Once more, he related it to his personal experience, envying Tata’s ability to get close to the women. It’s not much but it kept him on our screen, kept this part of his adventure. Of course, this could be a journey of redemption.

Andrea: In an episode that was devoid of strategy in Bikal, she had a strong presence. We can’t say that she was smart to be offended by Phillip’s strategy, but she was chosen to comment on it, giving her a connection to the future breakdown of the tribe. Like Laura, this spike in confessional could be bad but I prefer to see it has setting Andrea for the long run. She’s a clinical player that is always thinking about the game. It didn’t hurt that the editors let us hear that she is much stronger in challenges than Laura, giving us those contrasting orders: Andrea wanting to take bigger steps, Laura asking her helpers to come closer. Andrea showed sympathy to the Fans after winning the reward which makes me think she could bond with them later on.

Sherri: When she yelled at Eddie at the beginning of the episode, I had a vision of Sandra saying that she could be loud too. She turned on her closest ally but the way it was presented, no one will blame her. I’m always on the side of loyalty because this is a game of trust but Laura wasn’t presented as a Victim. The story was clear: It was her time to go so Sherri, in the end, was presented making the “right” decision. Now it puts her in danger, the next weakest one if we go by what Eddie said. On the other hand, we have a pattern that Jeff doesn’t paint her as the reason they lose challenges…unless the next recap resets our perceptions again!

Unlike Matt and Michael, Sherri was heard thinking of more than winning challenges. There were so many obstacles put in front of Sherri’s path to the end that I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the one that escapes the plagues of Gota and reaches the promised land: The Title of Sole Survivor.

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03-13-13, 03:14 PM (EST)
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33. "RE: Episode 3: Have - Have Nots"
Sounds good to me! If Michel says Sherri wins, then I'm on board with Sherri winning. Thanks!
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03-13-13, 03:38 PM (EST)
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34. "RE: Episode 3: Have - Have Nots"
Thank you for posting your thoughts Michel. I took some time to catch up (shame on me for working when I could have been enjoying this thresd). Anyway reading from episode 2 to this one was actually very interesting to see what you (and everyone else) thought at the time and how some of it has played out since then.

I'm enjoying everything but don't have much to contribute other then keep it up everyone .

I should be watched....closely.

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03-14-13, 04:42 PM (EST)
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35. "Post-Breakdown Thoughts"
This isn't going to be as complete and meticulously detailed as many analyses, but I had one big question go through my head last night after Brandon's departure: Whose exit stories are being set up?

Bikal - There haven't been any exit stories yet, other than the Brandon drama. We have been shown in the previews that Corinne has become the new target of Phillip's wrath, and that she is going after him. This storyline is new, which leads me to believe that one of them will succeed in ousting the other, but not in the next episode. The preview was the setup, the next episode will give us the meat, and then the episode after that is where we will find out who succeeds.

Gota - We've had two exit stories introduced. Last week, we were told that Eddie was the next one on the chopping block. This episode, his main interaction was positive, talking with Reynold about Reynold's re-finding of the HII.

The second exit story is Matt's. Last episode, we saw the first chinks in his armor when he went to Reynold and said he was voting for Laura. He was acting like someone coming from a place of weakness, instead of strength in the majority alliance. During this episode, we've been shown that Matt's the injured member of that tribe with bad feet.

Reynold and Eddie were shown in positions of strength because of the HII. Michael was being shown trying to make a positive impact of the camp. Sherri was shown more as a dissenter who wasn't being heard. She voted the way others on the tribe wanted her to, but things stayed the same. Julia was a shadow.

Since Matt's been shown negatively in two straight episode, I think he's the one at risk at the next TC.

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36. "Episode 5 - The Turning Point"
The recap started at the immunity challenge where Jeff noted Reynold’s heroics but “the Fans lost their 3rd immunity challenge in a row.
For the Favorites, winning wasn’t the problem: The majority alliance was targeting one of their own – Corinne.
And Brandon had a series of emotional outbursts.
The entire tribe was left wondering what he would do next.
At the Fans camp, Shamar was a constant source of conflict and even threatened to quit the game but it was an eye injury that ultimately sealed his fate.
Forced to vote out another tribe mate, losing was taking its toll on the majority alliance.
We heard Eddie saying: “Tonight is the make or break factor for this tribe.”
In the end, Reynold played it safe and the Fans chose to keep strength over loyalty.
(Sherri, Matt and Michael’s votes shown)

Once more, Jeff’s recap calls the Fans’ loss a team loss, not putting blame on any individuals which is another good sign for Sherri.
There was no need for Jeff to remind us that the majority alliance was targeting Corinne since this episode was all about Hantz’s meltdown. Since it mattered the we should expect a payoff soon.
The last episode ended with Jeff saying this could be a turning point and we heard Eddie making that point again so one must expect that it will indeed be the turning point. So even if this was barely an episode of Survivor, the theme to take from this chapter can be titled:

The Turning Point.

Gota – Night 10

The scene opened with Eddie saying: “This is going to be a turning point.”
Matt and Reynold said they felt great about the decision.
Matt asked Sherri how she felt.
Sherri answered: “I’m fine.”

Sherri gave us the first confessional: “We voted out Laura and it was a really hard decision because Laura is special to me. She reminded me of my daughter, a sweet girl and I didn’t want to write her name down but I had to go with the tribe because they were going to vote for her no matter what.”

All this scene was accompanied by an extremely sad guitar. As soon as Matt changed the subject and talked about the idol, percussion instruments were heard, telling us the mood wasn’t as solemn, that we could laugh at this next segment. Survivor is tough and demands tough decisions so that’s the only reason why a sweet girl was voted off. Often, we don’t hear the reaction of the player that lost a close ally which is an indication that the player isn’t important. Here, we heard Sherri’s thoughts and we know she can separate feelings from game decisions. That is the essence of the clinical player so that bodes well for her future chances.

Reynold: “I’m still not trusting anybody fully because tribal one and tribal two, I went in with all these hopes and aspirations (well actually you went in with Hope and Ally!) and believing these people and I got completely duped. This last tribal, I decided hours before that I am playing the idol. This is my free pass, I found it, I earned it, I am going to say exactly how I feel. You guys are worthless in challenges, you need me if you want to win and, if you don’t keep me around you will get maybe juror 1 or 2. It felt so good just to be honest. It’s like Bingo! Here’s my idol, I don’t care that was worth it.”

When someone says that he was confident going into the first two tribal Council, we know this player doesn’t know much about the way the game works. When someone has a free pass good for 1 Tribal Council and there are a dozen or so left, then we have another indication that Reynold doesn’t understand how the jury works. Things were about to turn around for Reynold though.

: “Reynold played his idol and he knew that there are 5 people against Eddie and Reynold so, of course he is going to play his idol. Now, it’s here somewhere on the island for someone else to find.”

Michael:”I still don’t want Reynold to have the idol because he is a dangerous player. He’s a clutch guy. He’s been our clutch man in all the challenges, he’s clutch with getting the fire started. He can pull through so that’s why I don’t want him to have the idol. I don’t want him pulling through and figuring this thing out and getting himself too far at my expense.”

It’s interesting to listen to this confessional now that we know Reynold found the second idol. Just how far will it carry him? We have to take note when one player says that another could pull through, could start figuring this thing out. I get a feeling that Reynold will get far at Michael’s expense or else why include this.

Bikal – Night 10

Brandon’s smaller meltdown started with a confessional saying he missed his wife and kids. He felt selfish.
To the tribe, he said: “Next Tribal Council…I’m volunteering for you to vote me out.”

Malcolm’s confessional was shown: “We are going to lose a member. This has repercussions…Maybe he should have thought of that before he jumped out here with the rest of us.”

Corinne also had an interview: “Brandon’s alternative…was to burn down the shelter and pee in our beans and rice. I want him off my camp immediately. He’s loco for sure.”

The next morning, Brandon had changed his mind and wanted to stay for his family.

This episode showed that Cochran was right on when he said Brandon was unpredictable.

The Challenge

Dawn had a big reaction when she heard that Laura had been voted out.
Have the Favorites figured out Gota’s dynamics? Dawn’s reaction, whether real of just spliced in, was meant to tell us that she knew something important happened. That reaction was more than just seeing another weak player eliminated.
I have to ask: If the Fans kept Eddie and Reynold for their muscles, why didn’t one of them hold a net? Matt had been beaten up by Francesca so why ask him to pull his rope?

Erik, Dawn and Andrea sat out after Cochran was heard saying he wanted to shoot.
Phillip and Brandon held on to Anette for Bikal while Michael and Matt were on the ropes for Gota.

Phillip was heard yelling something that distracted Sherri, making her miss badly.
Jeff noted that Reynold and Brenda were on fire while Sherri was “worthless in this challenge.”
Jeff: “Reynold is picking on Brandon and it is working”
Brandon was the first to drop his net.
Matt was “pummeled by Malcolm” and didn’t last much longer.
“Once again, Phillip is the hero for the Favorites’ tribe” as he outlasted Michael.

Despite being the first to congratulate Phillip, Brandon looked unhappy during the group hug. He wasn’t smiling or even looking at the group.

For the first time, Jeff noted Sherri’s poor challenge performance so we have to take note of it. The way she had been sparred up to now was taken as an indication that she could be our winner so how does this change things? Was it mentioned just for this challenge? Does it have long term implications? The Fans’ turn around seems more important than a lost reward and she wasn’t blamed by her tribe but it’s never good to be singled out negatively by the host.

Gota – Day 11

: “The frustrating thing is that I thought today was going to be a turn around for us. I thought this was our chance to win and get the tribe going in the right direction and we blew it.”

Michael and Reynold both said that they needed to try something new while Sherri had an angry look standing behind them.

Sherri (solo): “It is so difficult to keep my mouth shut right now. I went with your plan and I got rid of Laura; we still lost today. Muscles are not paying off. I just hope the alliance realizes this and doesn’t listen to all their crap about “we need muscle, we need muscle” but who knows? Now, the fear is that the idol is back in play. It’s around here somewhere. I got to find it.”

Viewers will listen to this and think that Sherri has some nerve blaming her team when she was portrayed as the reason they lost the challenge. This is also troublesome for her chances.

Sherri, Michael, Matt and Reynold were all shown walking around the jungle trying to find the thing. Julia was even briefly spotted in the jungle, but she could have been looking for a cameraman to record her overdue confessional.

Matt gave us a confessional during the search: “I don’t think it’s a big secret that everyone is searching for the idol. I mean, it was flushed out last night so I know it’s on the island somewhere. It can’t be that hard to find because Reynold found it pretty quick. I want to find that idol and… I am not telling anybody on this tribe.”

We returned toSherri’s previous confessional: “I went by my instincts of where the idol could be. It’s usually…by something that stands out.”

Michael: “It’s so crazy, you don’t know what is going to happen. We’re down in numbers and people are fidgety and I want to know where it is. If it’s in my pocket, it’s so important. It can take me so much further if I can find it. As long as Reynold doesn’t find it. I don’t want him to find it.”

Just then, we saw Reynold finding it again. After rejoicing, he gave us a confessional: “Might as well just keep playing them if I can keep finding them. I don’t want the majority alliance to know I have the idol because when they found that I had it last time, they started gunning for me and they wanted to flush it out. I don’t want them to flush it; I want to use it at a time where it will make a big difference and I think there’s a big correlation between opening your big fat mouth and the idol having to get played so mouth shut but Eddie’s my boy to the end. I want to tell Eddie. Back in business, baby. This is how you play Survivor”

The montage of this idol search was much more elaborate than the first so I believe this was to prepare us for an idol that will make a difference. Since Michael expressed twice that he didn’t want Reynold to have it, that it could impact his stay in the game then we figure that Michael is the one that will feel the difference: The foreshadowing tells us that the idol will be played at his expense. One thing’s for sure, Reynold, maybe for the first time, said something smart when he said he had to keep it secret. Is he figuring this game out? This is something to keep in mind because there is a possibility that all that led us to see Reynold as a dumb player were there to show how far he made it on this journey. Is it Reynold’s turning point?

We then saw Reynold joining Eddie in the shelter and telling him he had IT. They made a pact to go all the way.

Eddie had a confessional: “You can’t get luckier than that. You can’t. You get rid of it and, six hours later, you have it again? That’s awesome. The funniest part about this whole thing is that Sherri wanted this idol since day 1. Even today, Sherri is walking around, combing the beach everywhere, combing the woods looking for this idol. It’s just funny to watch!”

I took three important clues from this segment: First: Eddie, the guy that complained about Shamar resting in the shelter, wasn’t shown at all during the search but then he is seen resting in the shelter at the end of it. I think it’s significant and doesn’t bode well at all for Eddie. Next, hearing him say that Reynold was extremely lucky isn’t good either for Reynold because it takes away from his merit. Finally, we heard Eddie making fun of Sherri. Were the editors telling us that Sherri is dumb or were they setting it up for her to have the last laugh at Eddie’s expense?

Bikal – Day 11

had a voice over confessional while we saw Brandon cooking the steaks: “Brandon seemed sullen. There’s something in his eyes; you can tell he is going back and forth in his own mind. I hope that this win brought his spirits up but we have been on a winning streak so I don’t even know if he won a million dollars, if he would ever get right in his head.”

Brandon told us that he was annoyed by Phillip taking ownership of the win: “Phillip, this dumbass spy agent, thinks he won the challenge and it’s really, really, really pissing me off.”

The fight started when Phillip said he didn’t want to modify the shelter, preferring to conserve his energy for the challenges.
Bradon said he was acting like a dictator.
Phillip walked away.

Corinne: “I think we can all agree that Brandon is unstable and unpredictable. What are you supposed to do with that?”
Malcolm: “Brandon simply snapped. Phillip didn’t do anything but he caught Brandon on one of his downward swings and, for me…at some point he’s going to go passed the threshold.”
Showing Brandon using a knife at that exact moment was chilling.
Phillip gave us his thoughts: “I’m not going to have this young punk telling me to shut up. I’m a street fighter… I’m trying to avoid that but if he ever comes at me, he is going to see a different side of me.”

Despite having been advised by the tribe not to go to talk to Phillip so soon, Brandon went to Phillip.
The following segment was inserted in the middle of Phillip’s confessional. It’s very insidious of editing to show Brandon apologizing and then showing Phillip still angry, wanting him out. The viewer is made to blame Phillip at least partly when in fact Brandon has this pattern of saying one thing one minute and the opposite the next.
Phillip told Brandon that he was planning on taking him “above the slot that you ended up last time.”
Brandon heard that as Phillip being the leader but they still shook hands, Brandon apologizing.

The end of Phillip’s confessional was inserted here: “You say I’m sorry, you are not. In my book you are persona non grata.”

Gota – Day 13

What happened to day 12? A whole miserable day was erased making us wonder how much more insufferable Brandon became. Showing that could have made Bikal’s decision to forfeit immunity even more acceptable.

Matt: “I’ve been wet for like two days straight.”

Michael who, to his credit, was shown working, gave us a confessional: “Camp life at Gota camp has been one long string of hell. We’re failing on all levels of Survivor but we have to do something. We cannot just wallow under the palm fronds and hope that things are going to get better cause it’s not.”

Matt’s story just died in that instant when Michael said they couldn’t wallow under the palm fronds while Matt was shown curled in a fetal position. If anyone was still hoping for Matt to win the game well, turn out the lights, the party’s over.

was seen doing something, trying to save the fire: “It’s been raining for almost 48 hours straight now. I have a definite head cold…Everything I wear is wet. It sucks.”

Matt: “A lot of bad things happen over 13 days. I try to be as strong as possible but there’s times where we are so hungry and so cold, that you go God! I wish something good would happen to our tribe.”

Bikal – Day 13

made fire under the shelter and started talking about himself in the third person: “This Phillip and Brandon rivalry is getting to me… Brandon starts the fire. Who is the only guy in this tribe who can start a fire with a piece of flint? Brandon! I won’t let a 54 year old punk ##### tell me: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” He doesn’t feed me. I’m a Hantz: I feed me.”

Cochran brought tree mail.

Phillip’s reaction in confessional: “We got to get Brandon out of camp. He’s not sane, he’s not right. He could harm one of us. Sometimes, you might do the unthinkable to make something else possible. I would normally never consider throwing a challenge, I am too much of a competitor but in this instance, the good outweigh the bad.”

Brandon was shown laughing almost hysterically as if in response to Phillip’s confessional.
Phillip told Andrea that Brandon was going if they lose the challenge. “I want him gone: Put me in the challenge.”
Andrea: “Are you saying you’d throw the challenge?”
Phillip said yes and walked away.
Brandon was immediately shown asking Andrea about that conversation. He said he apologized and said he thought everything was fine.
He asked her if Phillip was throwing the challenge.
Andrea answered that she didn’t think he’d go that far but that a loss would create issues.

Brandon started boiling and asked to talk to Phillip.
He said he thought they had worked things over “yesterday”.
Phillip said he wasn’t happy. “I’m not sure I can trust you.”
Brandon asked Phil to drop the Stealth-R-Us, that it was like playing with a child.
He added that no one liked Phillip.
Phillip simply said: “Then they’ll vote me out.”

Brandon’s response to this was to give everyone a reason to vote him out.
We then had a distasteful display of a kid going mad.

Dawn, after trying to calm Hantz, had a confessional: “Brandon is ready to fist fight…Should we forfeit the challenge? Give immunity away which you never do in this game.”

Tribal Council

Gota had their gift: A reprieve and a chance to watch their favorites in Tribal Council.

Asked about the rain, Reynold said the game was extremely hard and he envied the Favorites’ situation.
Erik was seen shaking his head in disagreement.
Reynold concluded by saying that they were in this together.
Dawn and Brenda agreed.
Cochran said that fatigue damages morale.
Brandon then told Jeff he wasn’t doing too well.

He stepped forward and talked to the other tribe: “You guys are going to have an opportunity to make this a game. You’re going to get a second chance and I’m your second chance. Phillip? Don’t let this guy get to the end of the game.”

Corinne told Jeff that they were forfeiting the challenge so that they could go to tribal.
Reynold, Sherri and Julia were seen expressing the Fans’ shock.
Brandon said that Corinne was full of BS.
Jeff called Brandon over to his spot.
Corinne turned to the Fans and made a face to show them that Hantz was loco.

Brandon told the Fans that Phillip had made this Stealth-R-Us alliance and talked highly of himself when Boston Rob was the one that took him to the end.
His rant continued as everyone listened in silence until Brenda had the most superfluous line of the evening, whispering: “This is a meltdown”.
Brandon concluded: “I took myself out of this game.”
Cochran looked uncomfortable, Dawn was worried, Corinne and Malcolm were dejected, Reynold was loving it.
Jeff got a hold of Brandon, realizing this could get ugly.

Jeff delivered the understatement of the season: “You seem a little hostile.”
Brandon topped him: “Just a tad.”
Brandon explained the difference between this season and his first one: “I vowed not to play the same, not to be the guy that gets walked over episode after episode…That won’t get you anywhere in this game or in life.”

Jeff, noting that Phillip had remained silent, asked for his reaction.
Phillip started fumbling to find the right words so Brandon mocked him.
Finally Phillip said Brandon wanted to get in the alliance after voting against Andrea.
Andrea started crying so Jeff interrupted Phil.
She said she had grown close to Brandon so it was hard to see this. “It’s hard to see two people saying cruel things to each other.”
It was time for Phillip to interrupt: “I said nothing to Brandon.”
Brandon interjected: “Phillip Sheppard doesn’t say nothing wrong ever.”
The argument escalated and when Brandon took a step forward he forced Jeff to intervene, ordering him back.
Jeff took hold of Brandon’s shoulder and didn’t let go for the rest of the evening.
Dawn let a big sigh of relief when Brandon promised not to get physical.
She told Jeff she didn’t want to be there, that it was taking her out of her game.
Brandon said: “I love you Dawn with all my heart, Andrea, I love you but I want to be the Arthur (sic!) of my fate in this game. He told the fans that he dumped all the rice and beans.”
Sherri, hearing that, turned around in shock to Reynold who was equally surprised.
Corinne told Brandon that the whole tribe didn’t deserve that.
Phillip interrupted her, saying none of them deserved that.
Phillip told Brandon (and the Fans) that he wasn’t in control, that it was a figment of his imagination.
Erik gave the idol to Julia.
Reynold asked Jeff to raise his arms and say they won.
Jeff said he’d do that later but never did.

Brandon walked out, encouraging the Fans to kick the Faves’ #####.
Dawn told Jeff that Brandon was better off so that meant the tribe was better off.

Jeff made the final count: “Favorites now down to 8 members, Fans at 6. Big momentum shift potentially for you guys…”
Right then the camera showed Sherri, suggesting that the momentum shift will be in her favor.

The story

Besides the two main participants, this strange tribal council was presented through the eyes of Andrea, Corinne, Dawn, Cochran, Sherri Reynold and…Julia. I think it’s an indication that the story will revolve around these characters for the next few episodes. As a small prediction, I’d say that most of them could be the core of the new tribe that will go to the next Tribal Council. Corinne, Andrea and Phillip almost have to wind up on the same tribe to explain why the plan to boot Corinne was mentioned in the recap. If there is going to be a second act to the Favorites’ breakdown then the Fans will really have turned the game around.

The Characters:

Staying put: Their stories have remained stalled from the start

: She has been little more than a face in the crowd from the beginning until the camera went to her for reactions during TC. It could mean nothing but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julia sitting at the next Tribal Council when Act II of the Favorites’ breakdown occurs.

Brenda and Erik: Almost everyone gave us their impressions of the meltdown but these two weren’t shown in confessional and didn’t say anything to Jeff during that weird TC. Erik was shown trying to stop “Arthur” when he went on his rampage and then he received a “love ya bro” even if he voted against Hantz. Brenda seemed to hurt her knee but it wasn’t shown. I’d say the lack of airtime is good for them in the short term because they aren’t part of the upcoming carnage but it can’t be good in the long term. We are not encouraged to root for them at all. Even if their strategy requires that they stay quiet, they would still be allowed to talk to us if they mattered.

Malcolm: He did have more screen time than the other 3 but it was plain narration with a lack of compassion for “Arthur”. His personal story is limited to the idol. The fact that his idol wasn’t mentioned is the only good sign for him because it means he won’t be eliminated soon.

Taking a negative turn

: His story was killed as surely as Erik’s in Micronesia or Dietz in Panama. (Erik’s FvF v 1.0 story focused on beating Ozzy but we were shown Erik’s discouragement when Alexis claimed that Ozzy was the best of the best after a Malakal win. For Terry, it happened at the merge, when he started talking about his exploits as a fighter pilot but the camera pulled away to show Cirie and Danielle laughing about it. The message was clear: Those heroics meant nothing in this game.) A winner would never have a close-up while shivering in the fetal position when someone is saying they have to do something to avoid failing at Survivor. Of course, this dead-man-walking can still last a while and could still impact the story but he won’t be our winner.

Michael: He predicted that Reynold would outlast him if he found the idol. “I don’t want him to have the idol. I don’t want him…figuring this thing out and getting himself too far at my expense.” Reynold found the idol so we should bet on Michael’s prediction. If foreshadowing is as good as it used to be then I’d say Michael will be bounced out of the game by the idol.

Corinne: Her remark that not everyone deserved Brandon’s wrath showed that she wasn’t thinking in terms of team. The Fans saw that Phillip didn’t like her reply, they noted that “Arthur” said she was full of BS and they saw her acting as the spokesperson for the tribe in telling Jeff they were forfeiting the challenge. If the Fans are smart they will see that the fracture isn’t only inside the tribe but inside its main alliance.

Phillip: His game was left naked for all to see. It was as ugly as seeing him in his pink undies. His sharp reply to Corinne should have been carefully noted by the Fans and could be used by them in a swap. No one should be surprised to see Phillip vote against Corinne if he winds up in a tribe split 3-3 between Fans and Favorites.

Andrea: I’m not sure if Andrea really took a downturn but we saw her attachment to Brandon and he exposed her game. She is Phillip’s closest ally and the only other two time member of a “Stealth-R-Us” alliance. The Fans heard that she received votes at Bikal’s first TC and, while this isn’t as bad as knowing that Debb voted against Varner, it tells the Fans to look for who voted with Brandon. Knowing he’s “Arthur”’s “Bro” they should look in Erik’s direction. If he needs to save his game, he could throw her under the bus.

Staying on course:

: He had some good moments, especially when he was shown tending the fire but the bad moments outweighed the good. He wasn’t shown looking for the idol, we saw him resting instead. Gota kept his muscle but he didn’t put them to use in the challenge and they lost again. The best thing for him though is that Gota looked united in the first scene of the episode. It tells me that the Fans’ alliance will look to exploit the huge cracks in the Favorites’ tribe instead of throwing Eddie and Reynold under the bus.

Cochran: This episode unfolded as he had foreseen: Brandon was unstable and you couldn’t count on him. Cochran, the observer, got to watch some Survivor drama first hand. He had a very quiet episode but he was the one that set the stage, saying that fatigue was destroying tribe morale. If we assume that Corinne, Andrea and Phillip wind up on one tribe then that would leave Cochran with Dawn, Malcolm, Brenda and Erik. If any of that is close to how the swap breaks down then Cochran will be faced with his own history: Will he remain loyal? His new tribe will have at least 1, probably 3 players that are either outside his main alliance or on the outskirts of it. Cochran’s make or break episode will come when he has to vote in this new tribe.

Turning it around:

She was heard debating the idea for throwing a challenge which is very good for her, She then said that Brandon’s craziness was preventing her from playing her game. It’s not much but maybe it signals that the new Dawn will finally make an impact on the story. Let’s wait and see if she emerges now that she can breathe again.

Reynold: He could be figuring out this game. This episode had everything to make him a contender for the win. He was called a hero in the recap, he had Michael saying he was clutch and could go far in the game that he had just started to understand and he found an idol in a scene that underlined the value of that possession. So, is this the start of Reynold’s winning story arc? Unfortunately for him, we can’t forget that he was shown as a dumb player so I am still inclined to say that he will fail. To me, he looked like a distraction, someone that, for a while, looks like the possible winner.

Anyway, there was still a lot of arrogance in his confessional where he said: “You guys are worthless in challenges, you need me if you want to win and, if you don’t keep me around you will get maybe juror 1 or 2. It felt so good just to be honest. It’s like Bingo! Here’s my idol, I don’t care that was worth it.” Wouldn’t it be great storytelling if that confessional was aired because Reynold ended up as juror 1 or 2 himself?!!! That’s where I think he’s heading. He’s figured out the tribal part of Survivor (even if he hasn’t figured out that tribal is an adjective, not a noun!) but he probably doesn’t fully understand that hunting season for strong men opens up right at merge time.

Coming full circle:

: The episode started well for Sherri when the recap didn’t point to her challenge problems in the previous episode and when she got to explain how losing Laura affected her game. Note that we weren’t reminded that she was also hurt by losing Shamar, distancing her from the jerk. The episode went bad when Jeff noted that she was worthless in that challenge. The only positive was that Jeff’s comment wasn’t cut to “Sherri is worthless”! Her “We need muscle” confessional wasn’t much better because it skirted the important issue that she lost the challenge and then things got worse when Reynold found the idol that she wanted. Still, after all this, the episode ended on a very positive note when she was the one seen in close-up during Jeff’s final comment: “Big momentum shift potentially for you guys.” Let’s see how she manages the swap before saying for sure that this is her season.

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03-16-13, 08:48 PM (EST)
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37. "RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point"
At the "TC" noticed that when Corrine started talking to Jeff, Dawn reached over and grabbed her hand effectively silencing Corrine before she could spill too much information to the attentively listening Fans. It looks like Dawn is really thinking long term game in spite of all the Brandon craziness going on around her. Good for Dawn for keeping her head in the game through all the drama.

I should be watched....closely.

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03-17-13, 01:15 PM (EST)
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38. "RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point"
LAST EDITED ON 03-17-13 AT 01:16 PM (EST)

Nice catch! I'd say Dawn had a nice, subtle edit in this episode. She really tried to keep the peace so it will be interesting to see what happens after the swap. Can we consider her seriously though after 2 episodes without a confessional?

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03-17-13, 02:34 PM (EST)
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39. "RE: Episode 5 - The Turning Point"
I could be remembering wrong, but didn't Kim Spradlin have a few episodes with no confessionals?
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03-23-13, 04:01 AM (EST)
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40. "S26 Episode 6 - Editing Thoughts"
Finally a tribe swap!

Okay, before I share my main thoughts about the players, I have to say it was fun to see the rest of the fallout from Brandon's departure. While people can agree with Philip's confessional that Brandon needs a professional, I feel the scene back at the Bikal beach gives a clear picture that Philip should sign himself up for a session or two with said professional.

I imagine a lot was said by Philip to the group at that time, leading us to speculate about what was chosen to be used from Philip's deluded version of what happened. Hearing him say "Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't believe I've had any cross words with him" must've had most viewers go "WTF?" The camera also panned to Malcolm's face contorting as if to hold back an impression that Philip did indeed need to be corrected. And then we have Dawn chime in trying to diffuse the situation by saying sorry that he (and Corinne) got called out. This all, once again lets us know that it's pretty clear most of the players are simply choosing to appease Philip and his delusions.

That being said, Philip's confessionals are so bipolar that there is an occasional gem in what his says (and this is very tough for me to acknowledge!) But just as in his first season, Philip will have an overt showing no matter where he places - production simply cannot refuse his fodder.

Once again I saw the character breakdowns in the forms of pairs:

Philip & Corinne

Having been broken apart from their main alliance partners, Philip from Andrea & Corinne from Malcolm (at least, in her perception) - these two now make the most prominent (and volatile) pairing in the game. With the Fans down in numbers on both tribes, and an assumed "pagonging" to happen to the remaining Fans, it's very apparent that production is seriously dishing up a Philip vs. Corinne arc to feed us through some predictable boots. While I do enjoy Corinne's snarky confessionals being directed toward Philip, it already seems like too much banter by both of them about the other.

Is production milking this for all it's worth because a showdown will happen soon? Or are we going to endure this for awhile (& likely grow tiresome before it finishes) Either way there's no subtle that there is mutual disdain going on here. The difference being that Corinne has finally emerged as a character in the story. But it's not her story, as it appears like she's more or less taking the place of Brandon as Philip's object of rejection.

Cochran & Dawn

This to me is the true power pair - and they are mostly being hidden for the more dramatic players to be center stage. I still remember their scene re-connecting in the first the episode, and them deciding to vote together. They swayed the integral first vote, and have played to it's favor since. While Dawn hasn't had as many confessionals as Cochran, she has been key in a number of the camp scenes ranging from stoic to emotional to voicing reason. I believe we're being shown Dawn on the periphery of all this because she'll make it far in the game. Cochran is also on the periphery, and while less involved in the developing situations, he's had consistent confessionals voicing his accurate depictions of what we're viewing from the game so far.

Even more to Cochran's favor, we got to hear the thoughts of the ever-observant player that he is after Philip stated "one of us is gonna win this thing." In addition, we got Cochran's assessment in determining Matt as the boot, and we witnessed the assured way he was able to share it with his alliance. Cochran is being show as on-point. While we see that Dawn was quickly on board with this boot logic, Cochran is clearly getting an edge over her in the edit department. While I do feel production is taking some effort to hide him a bit, right now he seems to be the best choice to take this game all the way.

Andrea & Malcolm

Due to the swap, Andrea gets some reprieve from Philip, and Malcolm gets to hold his idol on a separate beach from Corinne. These two were the focal points over at nuGota. What a great scene with them walking through the jungle comparing notes (and lively music accompanying them in the background). Now in the second act, it's likely that we see a connection between these two players - who would appear to be a better match with each other than with their previous pairings. While both of them are above using flirting as their main modus operandi to get to the end, they almost can't help it coming through with one another. It was a notable scene. And we got to see Andrea question about the idol - both idols for that matter. Could she be influential in deflecting the idol's power in the future?

Andrea also got a great confessional over at the nuGota tribe about Sherri "spilling the beans" about her tribe's dynamics. Once again we get some narration with a dose of strategy talk from Andrea. She's getting a nice consistent edit and it appears that her head is always in the game. Similarly, Malcolm's confessional was the counterpart to this regarding the Gota boys divulgence. Having Malcolm coming front and center here is giving him some meat to his story which was sorely needed. Is it enough? Is it too late? He's had a consistent edit so far, but not as strong as Andrea. Let's see if they continue to remain tied.

Eric & Brenda

The interesting thing about this pairing is that they've never been noted as a pair. They were both on the minority side of the first vote. They were the last two of the Faves to be added to Stealth R Us. And then they were both transferred to the nuGota tribe. Perhaps game-wise they aren't so united, or perhaps they are simply not an integral part of the story. Or maybe, I'm just seeing their pairing so clearly based on the fact that these two Faves are being majorly ignored (so far).

We finally get another confessional from Eric, and it was him giving us the scoop over at the nuGota tribe. I felt it was pretty similar to his confessionals in Ep 1, only thing this time he spoke about his "red flags" with Reynold. While viewers may agree with Eric's viewpoint on Reynold, and Philip in Ep 1, we are only hearing about who Eric doesn't want to align with and not hearing who he is with. This is leaving Eric without any semblance of an alliance, along with being in opposition to the top 2 players getting the most attention. Eric is merely skating UTR it seems, but that doesn't look to be a winning strategy this season (as we have more strategic players around with Cochran, Malcolm, Andrea, Philip, even Dawn)

Reynold & Eddie

Here we have the most obvious pair of all - especially to the other players in the game. The recap was fairly nice to the Gota boys. Although, it's not necessarily a major compliment to state that Reynold has "luck" in finding the idols, rather than noting their actual strengths (do they have any?) Reynold still stands out as the more alpha of the pair. In confessional after the swap he states that he could not be happier & "it's a whole new life, whole new chance, whole new game, it's day 1 for Eddie & me now" Sounds promising, right?! But for how long?

We even saw Sherri talking about them - calling Eddie wonderful, when not with Reynold (making it a back-handed compliment) and calling Reynold a "salesman"(right after Eric's comment of him coming across as a "used car salesman" - Ouch!) The Gota boys aren't getting as favorable portrayal as they could if they were to prevail. Even in Eddie's confessional, it was very basic narration, along with another mention of being aligned with good-looking people. Sheesh dude, Survivor is not a beauty pageant. Yes, it's social, and yes, there's a likeability factor, but Eddie's comments seem as shallow as they can come, hardly leaving us to root for him.

Matt & Michael

This pair got the raw end of the deal with the swap. And obviously more so for Matt, the boot, as he was shown as the most trying, most honest, and most likeable of three. There simply was no sensible reason whatsoever to keep him. Interesting to note that of the Fans (those with neck & neck confessionals - Matt, Michael, Sherri, and Eddie) Matt got the spike last episode and a lackluster depiction contrary to what was previously shown of him.

Michael isn't fairing too well either. The recap stated that Michael couldn't hold on, and then he & his closest alliance mate had the misfortune to be switched over to the physically weaker tribe. He's separated from Sherri, but he does have an admirer in Corinne. While being called "a gay" by Corinne may have seemed likely a terrible depiction for Michael this episode, it was actually balanced out by being brought up by Corinne in tribal to Jeff - with Michael shown smiling on. Still, being tied to Corinne, Philip's enemy number one, does not bode that well for him. It would be a hoot to see if the heavy emphasis on all of this was some foreshadowing to have Corinne's "gay" be the one to replace her if the alliance were to oust her. That might be Michael's only hope.

Julia & Sherri

These are the lone ladies of each tribe. While it was nice to finally get some sense of Julia in this episode - it was very little and showed her more as a possible pawn in the game than anything else. But what's even worse for her is that we heard from the other players about their disapproval of Philip's attempts to talk with her about strategy. It was clearly spelled out to us that she won't be needed for that purpose. Sorry, Julia, but a story that does not make.

Sherri, on the other hand, may fair better in being in the position of a single player. She landed on the tribe that's more likely to win until the merge - so, if she gets there, it can work out better for her over the other fans. While both her and Reynold divulged to the Favorites and through each other under the best, we heard a confessional from Eric that this was deemed negative for Reynold. Whereas Andrea's comment about Sherri after their ocean bathing was less harsh about her "spilling the beans." It may be good for Sherri's immediate survival that she wasn't highlighted in this episode. Although not hearing a confessional about her assessment of her situation on the new tribe leads me to question if she will last as long as her previous trajectory.


This episode there was sooo much Corinne! While some can say that her snarky confessionals are needed now that we lost "entertaining" characters like Brandon and Shamar (some version of entertaining, that is ;) I'm just not feeling that it's the best thing for her edit to be so outspoken in this new act of having a tribal switch. I would feel better for her chances, if the shift wasn't so extreme. It could just be poor editing with production pouncing us over the head with her & Philip's rivalry. Or it can be vital to explain an upcoming Corinne boot.

I'm thinking Corinne will be on the losing end of this conflict. It's not just her omnipresence this episode, or her high spike in confessionals, but the content of them. Three times she stated something to the effect that her alliance would NOT flip. Twice specifically about Philip and once about her fellow Faves when speaking of nuBikal. If this were misdirection, why would production feel the need to drill it in so much? It's more likely that they're (over)planting the seed that someone will flip. And it looks more like foreshadowing for Corinne's game rather that foreshadowing about something that may happen within the game in general. It's going to be really interesting to see how they're going to follow up with Corinne next episode.

-- aaron

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03-23-13, 04:34 PM (EST)
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41. "Episode 6 - Flipping"
Hi Aaron, it's nice that you got things started. I'll put in my thoughts and then we can compare notes!

The summary told us that, from day 1, Eddie and Reynold have been fighting to stay in the game.
Their couples’ alliance was decimated and the only thing keeping them alive was Reynold’s luck at finding idols and their muscles.
Despite the Fans keeping them around for their strength in challenges, their losing streak continued.

At the Favorites’ camp, the Stealth-R-Us alliance had their sights set on one of their own until Brandon had a breakdown and destroyed their camp, throwing a wrench in their plan.
Dawn is seen asking if they should give up immunity.
At the immunity challenge, the Favorites’ desire to forfeit led to an impromptu Tribal Council.
Corinne is then shown telling Jeff that they are forfeiting the challenge.
Brandon is heard saying: “That’s BS, Corinne.”
Like any true Hantz, he wouldn’t go down without a fight.
In the end, Brandon was voted out unanimously.

This recap is terrible for Sherri and Michael because it was all about Reynold and Eddie, It was as if they were the only two Fans we were meant to remember, worth hoping they stay in the game. Can one of them be our winner despite previous indications that they were dumb players?


Bikal - Day 13

The tribe had a meeting where Phil and Corinne pointed out that Brandon had hurt their games.
For some reason, the camera gave us a few really close shots of Brenda.
Phil said that it was all in the kid’s head. (Phil’s confessional was inserted here)
Corinne called Brandon a quitter, hoping (like many of us) that he’d never get invited again.
Dawn said she wanted to say something to counter the damage caused by Brandon.
Phillip wondered why no one came to his defense.
We got another image of a quiet Brenda.
Corinne said it didn’t have to go down like that. (Her confessional was then heard)
Phillip said they were the better tribe and that one of them would win this.
We got an image of Malcolm and then again, a tight close-up of Brenda followed by Cochran in the background.
Erik said it felt good that Brandon was gone.
They all high-fived Phillip and then Cochran delivered a confessional.
Phillip told his tribe that the fans were worn, beaten. He added: “We’re healthy and we are going to stay healthy.”
The camera was very close to Brenda again.
Another segment of Phillip’s confessional was then shown as they joined hands in a circle.

Phillip’s confessional: “I feel sorry for Brandon and he needs a professional because even the Specialist couldn’t tell you what went on with him.”

Corinne’s confessional: “I didn’t really care for the fact that nobody jumped in to save Phillip or I. Dawn had several opportunities where she could have said “We like these people, we don’t like him.”

Cochran’s confessional: “When Brandon was here, it was actually a certified asylum.It’s comforting to know that Brandon was able to successfully fly over the cuckoo’s nest and now we’re just left with Phillip.”

Phillip’s second part: “Brandon’s gone. I am already done with him. I had an operation called operation Thunder Dome. All of us were on board with it to go after Corinne. She’s definitely ego driven and is going to do what’s best for her. The first opportunity I have to take a stiletto and get her out of the game: She’s gone!”

Gota – Day 14

We joined the Fans as they received tree mail so apparently their discussion about a second chance in the game wasn’t even worth showing.

After reading the message that, for some reason mentioned winning, Reynold was heard in confessional: “It’s over for Eddie and I as far as making social alliances with anybody here. So, I am just going to go out, win challenges, eat rice and hopefully survive long enough that something shifts in the game because nothing is shifting in this camp.”

Joining Jeff, the Fans were asked about their reaction to Brandon’s exit.
Michael said: “It was good yesterday for us to feel something good together.”
Matt said it was good to know that the Favorites were not one big happy family. He added: “I felt bad for Phillip. Phillip appears to be crazy…but I wouldn’t want anyone to spill the beans and the rice.”
Phillip talked about the harmony in camp and how he could finally sleep without keeping one eye open.

Jeff used the apparent unity within each tribe to announce the swap.

The New Salani…I mean Gota had Eddie, Reynold. Sherri, Malcolm, Erik, Brenda and Andrea.
The New Bikal had Phillip, Corinne, Cochran, Dawn, Julia, Matt and Michael.

Players’ reaction included:
Cochran: “The game starts anew.”
Matt: “I’m psyched to be on this tribe. I like all of these players.”
Corinne: “It’s definitely an injust…an adjustment.”
Jeff turned Corinne’s slip of the tongue into a joke.
Brenda said she was pretty happy with the make-up of her tribe.
Jeff gave them each a new bag of rice.

Corinne’s slip wasn’t a joke to many of us. Like many switches this one looked anything but random, protecting all the strong players by putting them together. We already know that the upcoming immunity challenge will require muscles and the promos showed the ocean pursuit for next week. That was Palau’s toughest challenge and one of the hardest ever played. Injustice? Who said Survivor was fair for those players that production doesn’t like. As for the extra rice, that was as close to an admission of guilt that we will ever get from Probst.

Reynold had the confessional as the tribes headed back to camp: “I cannot be happier about this new tribe. I was this close to breaking and now, it’s like a whole new chance, a whole new game. It’s day 1 for Eddie and me now.”

Gota – Day 14

As they arrived in camp, we heard Andrea saying: “I don’t want to jinx us but I don’t think we are going to lose.”
Reynold agreed.
Brenda and Andrea shared a happy dance.
Eddie’s confessional was inserted here.
The group shared a hug.

Eddie: “I’m ecstatic! I think the Gota tribe is the best it can actually be right now. We are the young good-looking tribe. Theoretically, the Favorites can do whatever they want because there’s four of them and three of Fans but I don’t think we’ll go to Tribal Council in a little while. I think my chances of going further in the game have significantly increased.”

This type of confessional would have been the perfect occasion for Eddie to tell us is end game plans. If he did mention them then they weren’t deemed important enough to let us hear about it. As is, We see a player that got a lucky break and will use it to stay a while longer.

Eddie and Reynold were working with Erik and Malcolm. Reynold informed the Favorites that: “They have been trying to vote us out since day 2.” When asked who he meant, Reynold quickly answered: “Sherri! She’s the worst. If you guys want to vote her out, we’re with you.”
Eddie smiled along: “Yeah! We don’t care.”
Erik looked shocked as he starred at them. His confessional was inserted here.
Eddie added: “Sherri’s over there trying to make a new alliance already.

Erik’s confessional: “Right away, as soon as we hit the beach, Reynold and Eddie pitched me and Malcolm this idea that Sherri is on the outside and Sherri is the person that we need to get off the island. To me, that immediately raises red flags. I look at Reynold and I think used car salesman. He’s got these beautiful blue eyes and he’s talking the talk but it’s not all it seems.”

If last week’s theme of turning point had given Reynold hope, this confessional killed his chances. Erik is observant enough to see that Reynold isn’t trustworthy so how can he make it to the end?

Sherri was indeed talking to Andrea and Brenda.
We joined a conversation already in progress. It’s always interesting to note at what point the editors decide to let us in on a conversation. It makes us wonder what was left out. Here we started with Eddie.
Andrea asked: “What is Eddie like?”
Sherri answered: “Eddie is a wonderful guy when he is not with Reynold…he is the biggest salesman...Reynold.”
That seemed to spark Brenda’s interest.
Andrea pushed it: “So, if we lose, who do you want to go?”
Sherri simply answered: “Who do you think?”
The girls laughed then Andrea asked if Reynold would tell her if he had an idol.
Sherri told them that he played an idol at the last TC but he was out looking for one.

Andrea then had a confessional: “Sherri spilled the beans of the whole tribe to Brenda and I about Reynold and Eddie. She kinda spoiled everything about their tribe which is good news for us because we are still thinking along the lines of Favorites versus Fans.”


We immediately had a confessional from Corinne. She started out by naming the members of her new tribe, pointing out Michael: “Ho! Do I have a special place in my heart for a gay! If I wasn’t a moron who hadn’t played this game before, I would quickly turn on my alliance just to align with the gay. However, I can’t do that because I know none of my people are going to flip.”

Phillip was trying to use up all the flint at once while talking to Julia about his big moves. He said he could stay pat in this game because he had the numbers or he could make a big move. He asked her if she would make a big move with him. (Phillip’s confessional.)
Julia asked why he was saying this to her.
He said he liked people who did things that were extraordinary. (Julia’s confessional) He was going to give her time to think about that adding: “I prefer you keep it to yourself.”
She said she’d do her best.
Phillip said that people underestimate him because of his pink underwear but that she needed to be ready to make a move when it comes.

Phillip: “Julia is a 20 year old, very, very smart, not college educated like myself, but she’s young. I just wanted to plant a seed with her because it will probably be easier to get her trust than the two men. I told Julia that people can advance and move ahead in this game particularly when you are down in numbers. I’m the type of guy that, once I say something, I am going to do it. The flip side of that is that I am not going to ask twice.”

Julia: “I think Phillip is being a great strategic player. He is giving a little bit of information away that could either make me feel really comfortable and excited or skeptical and he knows that so I am hoping I can be on his good page. It’s always nerve-wracking when you are in the minority.”


Malcolm and Andrea went for a walk and compared notes.
Malcolm said “They kind of just slammed her.”
Andrea: “There’s complete divide between them.”
Malcolm: “She’s not tight with those two so they are not together.”
Andrea talked about using Sherri to split votes in case Reynold had an idol. She then asked Malcolm if he had an idol.
He told her he didn’t.
Andrea concluded by saying it was the perfect scenario for them.

I long for the days when we had smart players like the Ogakor women who fooled Kucha into thinking they were tight. If only the Fans had worked together, directing the votes to Reynold and his idol like the Ogakor women led Kucha to vote against Colby and his clean slate of votes which, at the time, was as good as an idol…

After his talk with Andrea, Malcolm gave a confessional: “So far, we couldn’t ask for more from a dysfunctional group... Sherri is dead set against Eddie and Reynold. They are both gunning for each other within minutes of hitting the beach. Andrea, she had this dream that I had the idol last night… I love this game! She’s a smart girl but I am an accomplished liar when it comes to women so maybe I pulled it off.”

Phillip talked to Corinne about Julia, saying they could work with her.
Corinne replied: “I am not concerned about getting a flipper.” (Corinne’s confessional)
Corinne then told Dawn about Phil’s actions and she couldn’t believe it.
Dawn said: “I’m glad that he is with us. He can’t be left alone.”
Corinne: “He needs to shut the hell up.”

Corinne: “Within 30 minutes, he’s got Julia in a corner telling her she’s got to flip if she wants a chance in the alliance. She could be 7th place. Look Phillip, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, We don’t need somebody to flip we’re looking for an idol. He’s the worst federal agent I have ever met. What cases did he crack? Is that the reason why our country is in such a mess? Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my head to vote Phillip out and be like: The hell with him.”

Personally, I think it was a great idea for Phillip to talk to Julia, get inside information on the possibility of the two guys having an idol but the viewers are meant to think that “crazy Phillip” made a bad move. I think most viewers will have noted that this is the second confessional where Corinne flirts with the possibility of flipping.

Day 16 – The (non)Challenge.

When the challenge started, Jeff showed his “acting skills”, expressing surprise at seeing Erik and Eddie take a lead over Phillip and Julia. Probst sounded as if he thought there would be a competition.
Michael and Dawn gave it “what they got but it’s not a lot”
Reynold and Brenda were flying over the course.
Malcolm and Eddie pushed their 5th crate in front of Cochran and Phillip who were on Bikal’s 4th crate.
It got worse when an exhausted Phillip was forced to go immediately after crate #5.
Probst told us that Julia was calling shots for Bikal’s puzzle while Malcolm took the lead for Gota.
Julia failed, Cochran was heard saying that the piece she placed on top was supposed to go at the bottom.
Jeff said: “That was pathetic” and Phillip agreed when he should have said that Bikal didn’t even have a chance.

Phillip gave us his post-game interview: “Corinne is sucking except for taking care of her body but, as far as anything else going on, it’s just empty. The Favorites must dominate for now…Strong men advance boldly, weak men grow agitated but superior men? They stand their ground and wait for better chances…I just got to wait for the proper moment and get rid of her.”


Returning from the challenge, Phillip called a meeting, saying that they did their best.
While he spoke, Corinne had a confessional
Phillip ended is pep talk by saying the proverbial loser’s anthem: “We’ll get ‘em next time.”

Corinne: “Phillip is the most annoying player out here, hands down. The reason people keep thinking he’s the ring leader is because he does outrageous things and we just keep quiet about it. I don’t care, I know he’s not the leader and I am not going to listen to him but if he wants to have a speech when we get back here, alright, have your speech. On a scale of 1 to sitting on a plane next to a baby annoying, he’s on the airplane sitting next to the baby and the baby has diarrhea. It is the most annoying situation you could be in. It’s very frustrating but there’s nothing I can do about it because, as annoying as he is, he’s going to vote with me and he ain’t going to flip.”

Doesn’t that set up a nice blindside? The one dimensional character that Corinne has become is consumed with her opposition to Phillip but won’t act on it. Phillip’s character is also focused on Corinne but he tells us he is waiting for the right moment. That moment should come next week.

While the camera showed Julia going to the ocean alone, Matt asked Phillip about his plan.
Phillip said a girl had to go.
Matt was good with that, saying he wanted to make it to the merge.
Michael asked: “Is it plead-our-case-to-Phillip time?”
Matt said he was asking him about his thoughts.
Phil said his plan was to get the girl (Julia) because she got flustered. He added that the guys were better assets.
Phillip then told them that Stealth-R-Us was still running. He mentioned inducting them in the alliance but said they would have to be tested.
Unwisely, Phillip said that there were two of them that were controlling factors.
Matt then started his confessional.
Phillip said they wouldn’t mention this conversation again but he would watch to see if they accomplished their task. They would become members of the alliance “along with the other 6 members.”
Michael wanted a T-shirt.

Matt: “I was trying to keep a straight face but hearing Phillip talking about Stealth-R-Us, he made me want to bust out laughing. Phillip may be a ticket to get farther in this game so, if I have to kiss ##### right now, then I will be like Yes Master I will do what you say. If that can get me to the merge and the next process in this game, then I am going to do it.”

For all his craziness, by saying “the other 6 members” Phillip included the whole Favorites tribe in his alliance. He’s telling Michael and Matt that there are no cracks. Sure enough, Matt’s confessional showed that he was content with riding along, not looking for cracks.

The 3 Fans gathered in the woods, the guys telling Julia they were trying to figure out what the Faves were thinking.
Michael said they could all vote for Cochran but realized Julia didn’t like that.
She proposed Dawn instead.
That was fine with the guys.

There weren’t any reasons given to explain why Michael suggested Cochran or why Julia didn’t like that idea and preferred Dawn instead. This tells us that we missed some interactions between Cochran, Dawn and the Fans. It tells us that none of the Fans picked up on the conflict between Phillip and Corinne and it tells us that the plans of these three players don’t need to be well developed, that they won’t matter in the end.

Matt had a confessional telling us that they had fooled Julia. “I am going to write Julia with a capital J.”

(A true fan would have said: “I will vote J because J is for Julia”)

Corinne then took a walk with Matt and Michael, saying that she liked them and asked who was going to get their vote.
Michael simply said that she should tell them how to vote.
Corinne then talked about the idol and how it could blow everything.
Suddenly we saw that Cochran had been with them when it first looked like only 3 people had gone for a walk. It’s almost as if Cochran had been holding the camera during the walk!
Matt said he didn’t have the idol.
Cochran, the observer, then had the key confessional regarding the vote.
Matt said that he and Michael would love to start fresh. He added that he didn’t know if Phillip was the king pin

Cochran: “It seems relatively clear to me that one of the Fans is gonna go home tonight. I like the idea of voting out Julia but one of the possible downside is that Matt and Michael are openly very close to each other so leaving an outspoken duo, a power couple, in this game doesn’t seem to make that much strategic sense. Matt, I am pretty sure doesn’t have the idol because he reeks of desperation. For now, it seems between Matt and Julia but who knows? If an idol is played maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Corinne, maybe it’s Phillip.”

Strange that Cochran mentioned that it could be any of the Favorites except the one that actually got a vote!

The Favorites gathered and Cochran told them: “Michael and Matt seem much closer than either of them are to Julia.”
Phillip and Corinne were still thinking of Julia because they could turn the two guys.

Corinne had a confessional: “Tonight is a toss up between Matt and Julia. I’m glad that my gay gets saved! I am undecided. I’d love to get rid of Julia because a: She is really boring and b: She is the one that cost us the challenge. I really, really like Matt. Matt has been honest with me…Why would I punish him when Julia hasn’t said two words to me? She doesn’t contribute anything except a nasally voice so I am all about getting rid of her. It’s really hard. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Tribal Council

Matt puckered up by saying he was a big fan of Cochran, Phillip, Dawn and Corinne. He was happy with this group.
Julia admitted that the Fans were in trouble.
Jeff asked if it was between Michael, Matt or Julia tonight.
Michael said it was 100% sure that one of them was going home.
(I would have added: Look at the seating arrangements; Matt and Julia are on the hot seats!)
Asked about making bonds with the new people, Corinne made one of the dumbest comments ever: “God! There are at least three people that I would replace in my own alliance.”
Phillip heard that and quickly looked at her.
The violinist was startled also; he hit a “wrong” note!
Phillip said he would be looking for loyalty.
Corinne said she was paranoid about the idol.
Matt said he didn’t have the idol and that he would have told Corinne if he knew any of the other fans had it.
Corinne said it wasn’t that simple.
Phillip was also concerned about the idol.
Cochran said that they didn’t want to keep losing because: “the more we keep losing, the closer they get together on the other tribe…They are kind of like the Bold and the Beautiful group. I don’t see me penetrating that group.”
That made Phillip, Dawn and Jeff smile.

Sent to vote we saw that Julia remained loyal to the Fans, voting for Dawn while the two guys tried to save themselves by voting as Phillip asked.

No one played the idol, bringing a smile to Corinne’s face.
When the votes turned against Matt, we saw the relief on Julia’s face.

Jeff sent them back to camp saying that Julia and Michael were in trouble so they had to win immunity.

The Story.

In an episode where loyalty and flipping became the main topics of conversation, the players that shined were the loyal ones, the ones that didn’t think of turning against their previous alliance. In that regards, it was interesting to see that some of these players were given roles as observers, relaying to the viewers their reactions to the potential flippers. Besides Julia, all the Fans were ready to throw each other under the bus. If the loyalty theme continues to be the point of focus then we can say, like Phillip, that one of the Favorites will win this. The story seemed set up for a Fan, as the underdog, to overcome their disadvantage and find a way to win but that was false hope. The editors aren’t misguiding us: The Favorites have the advantage and won’t lose.

The Characters

The Flippers – This group contains all the big characters and none had a good episode. It should make our job of determining the winner that much easier.

: The swap could have given her time to counter Phil’s plan. Unfortunately, while we heard that Corinne wanted to eliminate Phillip, she was too worried about the fall-out to move against him. Worst, by saying that she likes the Fans so much that they should replace three members of her alliance, she alerted her three alliance mates. That had to be the biggest foot in mouth moment since Alex told Rob he was eliminating him at Four. When I heard Corinne blaming Julia for not talking to her, I considered the opposite: Corinne was dumb not to talk to Julia. Now that the race car driver knows that the other Fans voted against her, where can she go? Not with the one that ignored her but with the guy in the pink underwear who talked to her within 30 minutes of reaching camp. Corinne gushed so much over Michael that I wonder if it wasn’t stressed just because he’ll betray her. If she tells him about her plan to eliminate Phil, he could gain points with the Federal agent by acting as his new spy! Corinne may live to regret saving Michael.

Phillip: He launched Operation Thunder Dome, the move to eliminate Corinne, a bit too early. However, he was smart to get close to Julia right away, He can count on her now. It’s not even sure that Corinne’s new favorite gay guy wouldn’t vote with Phillip since the two guys got along. The only problem we have with Phillip eliminating Corinne is that it would prove his point about being the “Superior Man”! We have to consider the possibility that things will turn against the ex-agent and that Corinne will get the votes because editors love (or used to love) irony. However, even if Phillip wins this battle, there are plenty of other occasions for the “Superior man” to fall flat on his face.

Michael: If Michael thought “it was good to feel something good” when Brandon left then it must have been bad to feel something bad when Matt was voted out. What will Michael do now? He did vote against Julia as Phillip wanted so he could get a temporary membership in Stealth-R-Us but that’s only good for 7th place. Will he go with Corinne and eliminate Phillip? That could be more promising but will Michael see it that way? Michael’s future depends on flipping to one faction of the Favorites or the other. Either way, the theme of Loyalty tells us that such a future cannot earn him the win. Without Matt, Michael’s story is reduced to being someone’s pawn.

Reynold: He was the first to mention that he needed a shift in the game. It was ironic that he said nothing was shifting “in this camp” and he wound up right back in the same camp with just as big a target on his back as before. Granted, with Gota’s new line-up, he should get his way and win all the team challenges but what comes next? After the recap, I wondered if things could really be turning around for Reynold but then we heard him selling Sherri out as soon as they hit the beach. It may feel like day 1 for him but he is in a bigger predicament than ever. The Favorites view him as a used car salesman and they have no need to buy what he is selling, no need to keep him for his challenge abilities.

Eddie: As soon as things turned around, the superficial Eddie returned, telling us he liked to be on the young good-looking tribe. There’s no substance to his edit, nothing that can make the viewers agree with Sherri that he is wonderful besides his looks. His narrative tells us that he will be happy with making the merge.

Sherri: There had been troubling moments in Sherri’s edit but none as obvious as this episode’s recap. It was as if she didn’t matter. Her conversation with Brenda and Andrea started off much more nicely than Eddie and Reynold’s. She was complimenting Eddie before throwing the salesman under the bus. She was being more diplomatic and that could help her standing with the Favorites. Of the fans that were ready to flip, Sherri still has the best potential to stay longer in the game because the story puts her in danger but the game tells us that she should be safe. Matt and Michael were a power couple that had to be separated and the same will soon apply to the pretty boys. Cochran told us he doesn’t expect to penetrate the Bold and the Beautiful group so Reynold and Eddie will be on top of his target list after the merge and that could mean using Sherri.

Malcolm: Why put him with the Flippers? He lied to Andrea about his idol so that tells us he’s already playing an individual game, probably willing to do whatever he thinks will help him down the road. Not a bad way to play for sure, but this episode told us that it was best to stick with your allies. His line about being good at lying to women probably cost him half his fan base! The next episode appears to be Malcolm-centric so we should have a clearer idea about his chances then but the first 6 episodes were too bland to suggest that Malcolm wins.

The Loyal players – Most of these players have been relegated to the background even if the story tells us that they are the ones playing it right.

Now we know that she hasn’t been featured because she is boring, that she doesn’t contribute anything besides a nasally voice. She observed Phillip in action and thought he was a good strategic player. That alone tells us that the fans are in over their head!

Erik: He gave us his first significant confessional since the premiere and that was to relay his astute observation that Reynold was like a used car salesman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Erik being instrumental in eliminating Reynold and his idol. Maybe he’s the one that convinces the pretty boy not to play the idol because they are all voting against Sherri when they actually vote against Reynold. It would be sweet justice for the guy that made one of the games’ dumbest move so maybe his confessional was used to set that up. Erik’s loyalty to the favorites means he should outlast many players but his lack of story tells us he will fall short once more.

Dawn: This was a key episode but Dawn wasn’t really shown. I even wondered if she should be placed in the group with the Loyal Players because she agreed with Corinne that Phillip was trouble. We even got some negative comments about Dawn when we heard that she didn’t show empathy towards Brandon’s targets. We didn’t see Dawn making any connections with the Fans. That’s something we would need to see if she were to get their votes in the end. Now, for some unexplained reason, she was Julia’s target. Dawn wasn’t heard talking during Tribal Council and that sums up her story: There’s something missing to consider Dawn as a possible winner.

Brenda: She wasn’t heard but the strange camera work during the opening scene made us consider that her point of view was important. It was almost as if the editors were about to show her confessional but it never came. Maybe that missing confessional was the last scene cut from the episode. What we did hear from Brenda was that she was happy with her tribe and she didn’t give Sherri any ammunition against the Favorites. Brenda must have felt bad for Kelly while watching Nicaragua so I wonder how she feels now that she is turned into Purple Brenda?

Andrea: She was mostly left out of the discussion following Brandon’s exit, the recap only briefly showing her in tears, and she had a pretty good episode, getting information from Sherri and getting a compliment from Malcolm. The problem was that Malcolm, despite calling her smart, also completely fooled her. Andrea was shown being outwitted. That’s a big hurdle for a winner’s story to overcome.

Cochran: Being the observer, Cochran must have noted that Matt was fraternizing with Phillip even before the swap. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that part of the reason he went after Matt was because the fan admitted feeling sorry for Phillip, saying he liked him. Cochran’s showing in this episode could force us to talk about the “new” Cochran. His tone of voice during the key strategic confessional made us realize that he is a clinical strategist, nothing left of the whiny, unsure kid from South Pacific. He also showed that he was loyal to the alliance even if he subtly undercut Phillip’s numbers. Michael and Matt were heard suggesting eliminating Cochran and while we don’t know if it came back to him, Cochran acted as if he knew about the threat.

Since loyalty was the question that Cochran had to answer before this game started, it was important that we saw him being loyal to the Favorites. Being presented as the Observer, Cochran isn’t as insecure as before. Being a returning player, he certainly could feel much more sure of himself than the first time but the editors could always stress his moments of paranoia if they wanted. Instead, we see a calm student of the game which tells us that Cochran will win Survivor Caramoan. We went down this road before and were completely wrong but it seems that none of the others have the quality of edit to rival him.

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03-23-13, 05:17 PM (EST)
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42. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
LAST EDITED ON 03-23-13 AT 05:18 PM (EST)

I'm in agreement - I do not see anyone else with the potential to win the game at this point, other than Cochran. I really like how he's been edited in an observer type of role and it feels at times we are made to see the story from his perspective. I think Dawn and Andrea both have potential winner story lines but both also have had down editing moments at times.

What a great contrast to Cochran's first time on the show, editing wise! It's a bit like Parvati's edit in the original FvF season - flirty and not taken very seriously as a player first time, serious and playing the game the second time (what stood out was how she paid attention to the local who came to camp to show how things were done after a reward win).

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03-24-13, 12:37 PM (EST)
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43. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
Agreed about how Parvati was shown to change her game in Micronesia, Pepe, but I'm not sure her interaction with the local is the right example of how she'd changed: She was ready to make off with him, regardless of his marital status!
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03-24-13, 01:04 PM (EST)
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44. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
I had high hopes for Sherri because I'd much rather see a Fan win but she was shot down by the editors this week. Can her story recover? I doubt it but we'll see.

Dawn and Andrea can't be eliminated. Dawn lacks substance and we have that comment by Brandon that she will lose. Andrea? She was loyal to the Favorites in this episode but she was the first to propose voting against Corinne. She was fooled too easily by Malcolm. There's nothing really wrong with her edit but I don't see any particular investment in it either.

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03-24-13, 07:34 PM (EST)
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45. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
Great read as usual, Michel!

I see we're on the same page with Corinne!In my post above I noted as well that she was rather one-note with her alliance-won't-flip comments amongst her confessional disdain for Philip. I also noted how it would be ironic if they kept Michael over her. The only thing that puzzles me is game-wise it would be rather impulsive for Philip to make this move next episode. While, he may think he's following BR rules in swapping out his 6th in his alliance (Corinne for say Michael or Julia, like Boston Rob did ousting Matt for Philip) - Boston Rob didn't have to maneuver with a tribe swap. It would be very risky for Philip to get rid of Corinne next episode, as he would be putting a lot of faith that Andrea & Malcolm would come back into the fold come merge time. This could be yet another area where Philip is thinking he's as good as Boston Rob, but simply isn't. It would be a risky move getting Corinne out just yet, without Philip getting full assurance from his other alliance members. He's likely getting it from Cochran & Dawn, and perhaps he feels like his connections to the Bikal fans, as well as previous Bikal faves, are strong enough.

Still, it could put him in a precarious position. It was noteworthy that he said his "superior man" speech, and that he would wait to eliminate Corinne. Will he be successful in doing so at the right time? I also picked up on the possible misstep made by Corinne at TC in talking about switching out a few of her alliance mates if her circumstances were different. There's a chance it might not be too damaging, as we have seen such things said before at TC, like with Chelsea & Sabrina regarding their alliance in One World (which they were not punished for). Although we did see a cut to Philip at TC right after Corinne said this. Is Corinne too comfortable in her alliance (like Alex was to Rob) that she is unnecessarily vocal about things that could get her in trouble - possibly. Rather likely - this is Philip we're talking about!. A few comments like this from Corinne, and the deluded "superior man" may actually get agitated enough to think he's waited long enough to give her the ax, when indeed he would benefit more in keeping her along (as we are hearing from her that she'd remain loyal).

In other news, I do believe Cochran is looking the best to take it all the way - far better than any other players right now. Dawn is being set up for endgame too. I don't think it's bad that we haven't seen her interact with the Bikal fans as we're already getting other editing confirmation that they are not integral to the story. Matt is already gone, and likely another one of them too before the merge & jury formation. Perhaps it feels like she's missing something to her edit as she will be a loser at FTC. As for Andrea, I think she's receiving the next best edit after Cochran. Her confessionals have been substantial and consistent, and we're certainly seeing that her head is in the game. I don't necessarily feel that she's buying Malcolm's lie about the idol. Sure, we didn't see her question his response afterwards, but this may come up again in an episode or two. I think Andrea is shrewd enough to know not to take Malcolm's response at face value - it was actually good for her to bring it up, and play along with him no matter what his response.

Last note, yes, each of the fans look helpless right now, at least in terms of endgame. Each of the remaining five had some kind of editing manipulation this episode to allow us to lose some hope on their chances. Too bad

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03-24-13, 09:21 PM (EST)
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46. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
Thanks Aaron, I enjoyed reading your thoughts also even if I disagree about Phillip's responsibility towards Brandon. CBS wants us to believe Phillip brought it on himself because the alternative is that CBS was responsible for letting a madman loose in the jungle.

As for eliminating Corinne, Phillip only has to worry about Malcolm's reaction. He knows Andrea will high-five him for getting rid of Corinne while he could go to Erik and Brenda saying that he was honest with them when he brought them in the alliance, that they were taking Corinne's spot.

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03-25-13, 03:51 AM (EST)
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48. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
I certainly don't believe Philip is responsible for Brandon's behavior. Brandon has to own that (personally I don't believe Brandon's stable for the game to begin with - not dissing him, it's just a tough game). Rather I'm trying to point out the instances in which we are being shown a castaway's perspective and how it doesn't match up to what the viewers are seeing. Showing Philip say "Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't believe I've had any cross words with him" simply is not true. Especially when shown after the impromptu TC in which he further provoked an already hostile Brandon by mentioning Russel, and then Brandon's aunt and kids. Everyone in the game witnessed this. We also saw Philip have the "middle management" talk and "the hand that feeds you" talk with Brandon - and while these words of wisdom might not have been "cross" per se - we, and Brandon, knew where Philip was coming from. Brandon was grating on Philip, and Philip was getting emotionally invested, as we saw him tell Andrea that Brandon needs to go immediately. I believe Philip downplayed his involvement whether production had something to prove or not. Either way, I don't think they'd show it to us this way if we were supposed to root for Philip or support him in making it to the end.

Regarding getting rid of Corinne, yes, Philip certainly has a bunch of people that would happily take Corinne's spot in the alliance - the thing is that if he were playing by BR rules he would know that Andrea & the other faves are now questionable at best, with each day they spend out of his sight (as they are commiserating with others). Philip's surest bets are those that are with him - first & foremost Cochran, Dawn & Corinne. If he were playing smart, he would wait until they all got back together, so that he could assess the loyalties of those that are over at nuGota, before he would eliminate a known entity like his allegiance with Corinne. At least that's how I see him making a more clinical, strategic move

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03-24-13, 11:38 PM (EST)
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47. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
Cochran still does his "poor pitiful me" routine when referring to some of the women contestants. Dawn was shown wanting to help Brandon on a couple occasions, but did not act, standing by helpless. Seems like Andrea has had a better edit at times. Maybe some growth shown by Cochran if he can vote out Brenda & Andrea.
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03-25-13, 01:06 PM (EST)
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49. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
...ok, so we're off the Sherri bandwagon? Sounds good... sign me up for Cochran, then.

Andrea's edit is interesting. She's active, loyal, talkative, strategic, strong, and sympathetic. Malcolm's confessional about fooling her (and all women) is a negative, setting him up as a potential villain (or "power player,") which thereby creates Andrea as his opponent, the hero. But she's lacking... something. She's almost too stealth for being the real hero. A confessional after talking to Malcolm would have been important, but it looks like she won't win this season. Maybe she casts the decisive vote?

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03-25-13, 01:23 PM (EST)
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50. "RE: Episode 6 - Flipping"
Malcolm's "About to take control of this game" sounded like his deathsong. I agree, Andrea's edit is interesting, but I also feel like something's missing for her to be the winner. Cochran getting the vote shifted from Julia to Matt seemed significant. Something a winner would do.
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03-29-13, 09:07 PM (EST)
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51. "Episode 7 - Delusions: "
The recap started with the surprise switch, Jeff saying that the new Gota Tribe had all the muscles while the purple tribe (Phillip shown) didn’t.
But on both tribes, the Favorites outnumbered the Fans 4 to 3.

On Gota, the Fans took turns throwing each other under the bus…
(Reynold and Sherri are shown)
but at Bikal, the Fans were a hot commodity: Phillip wanted to recruit Julia while Corinne wanted Michael.

At the immunity challenge, Bikal fell apart (Julia was shown)
…and at tribal Council, the Fans knew that they were the obvious targets.
In the end, they were right.

This is a nice example of deception in editing. We only saw the puzzle part of the immunity challenge and it was during that part that Bikal was said to fall apart as if their lack of muscles had nothing to do with their loss.
There was also a contradiction about the vote: First the Fans were a hot commodity then they became obvious targets. It seems that the hot commodity was mentioned only in order to hide the fact that they never really had a chance.

What the recap did set up right was the confrontation between Phillip and Corinne. Their conflict wasn’t really based on which Fan they preferred but it reinforced their division. Their rivalry was used to hide the fact that we had one more boring vote to witness before getting to the real game.

As for Bikal, it doesn’t seem to be an important tribe because we only heard of the conflict between Sherri and Reynold. The stories of the Gota Fans are headed for the same cul-de-sac as the Bikal ones while the Gota Favorites were completely forgotten.


Bikal – Night 16

Corinne apologized for voting out Matt.
Phillip said they had to make a choice and decided to keep Michael and Julia.
Michael thanked the Favorites while we heard his confessional.

Michael (solo): “Tribal Council sucked. Matt’s been my boy since day 1 and now I am totally on my own. I’m going to continue to try to build trust with these guys and try to build friendships as well so that they want to work with me at the merge.”

Corinne talked to Michael alone in the shelter and gave us a confessional: “I’m definitely willing to sacrifice one of my own to keep somebody else and I am going to fight tooth and nails not to have it be Michael. I mean that Michael is not going home on my watch. Clearly, I’d like to get rid of Phillip as soon as possible but the problem is that you can’t make moves like that this early. So, I try really hard to be patient and hope that the time will come sometimes soon.”

Observing the conversation in the shelter, it was Phillip’s turn to give a confessional: “Corinne consistently goes and has conversations with people like Michael and then doesn’t disclose to us the nature of the conversations. For me, that’s unacceptable. I want Corinne to be the next person gone. If I can’t get rid of Corinne then her new gay friend as she says, is going home next.”

Phillip and Cochran took a walk along the beach.
Phillip said he wanted Corinne gone.
Wisely, Cochran said: “Not next though.”
Phillip insisted: “I don’t want her going to the merge. I don’t know what she’s told him. I want her gone.”
Cochran explained: “We do this before the merge, we meet up with our old tribe and they will think what the hell just happened. They’re not gonna want to work with us because we already turned on one of our own, one of the core six.”
After their conversation, they walked away from the camera but Cochran clearly looked at “us”, his eyes opening wide to show his amusement.

Bikal – Day 17

It doesn’t seem that it was worth visiting the Gota beach because Dawn delivered tree mail.

Cochran in confessional: “Tree mail said that the strong will carry the weak. We have plenty of that latter category so, if the success of this challenge depends on the existence of weak people, we got it.”

Phillip then boasted that he would win any competition that involved upper body strength.
Corinne’s confessional followed immediately: “Tree mail says we have to be strong for the challenge…so that sucks. Phillip, with his bravado is like: “I got this! I’m the strongest guy out here.” Oh! my God!”

Judging by the face Dawn made when Phillip talked about his muscles, she definitely agreed with Corinne!

Phillip in confessional: “This challenge has nothing to do with strength but, for a lot of them, they are very, very concerned but that isn’t a problem for me. I believe that no one on the other tribe can beat me arm-wrestling. I love to find a sucker with big muscles who looks at me and thinks he can beat me.”

Cochran was the one he found to wrestle! His confessional: “Phillip challenged me to an arm-wrestling match. He was naturally able to beat me quickly. Then, to up the ante and to boost his ego a little bit, Phillip demanded that I put all my weight on his one hand. Ha! Ha! I put considerable weight on his forearm and he managed to keep it off the ground. The smile on Phillip’s face after that, I think that he felt like the old Phillip or the young Phillip.”

A confident Phillip in interview: “In challenges, my asset is my will of a lion and my determination of a gorilla. I may be old but I still have game.”

The Challenge:

When Jeff said that Matt had been voted out, we saw a quick reaction by Sherri but nothing significant.
The challenge ended as soon as Jeff explained it! Gota knew that the reward was theirs. Their reactions showed that they were already tasting the goodies while Michael, Julia and Corinne’s reactions were more like “that would have been nice”.

In the strategy talks, Malcolm knew they just had to take their time and would catch up.
Phillip wanted to be in front because he didn’t want to be stuck behind all the slower players in front!!!
Brenda started to dance before the first lap was even completed! She was whooping it up, already placing her order. She started eating her ponytail!
Phillip didn’t want to run.
Surprisingly, Dawn was the first to drop out, giving her bag to Corinne.
As Gota approached, Brenda mimicked a tiger jumping on its prey!
Cochran and Julia opted out, leaving Corinne with 60 pounds.
Phillip fell so Erik tagged him.
Brenda started dancing which seemed to infuriate Corinne.
Dawn could only say that such a rich reward would make them sick.

Dawn gave a confessional: “Phillip’s put himself in this role that he is the leader and he is just extremely…arrogant sounds so mean but that’s what it is. He sees all of his strengths and none of his weaknesses.”

The Reward:

We heard Andrea’s point of view first: “Winning the reward was a great way to bond with the Fans” (We see her hugging Reynold) “They haven’t won a reward yet so it’s nice to see them enjoying a reward with us, bonding with these people and I want to get as close to them as possible (while this is said in voice-over, we see her making a toast with Reynold) before, you know, I vote them out so they remember the good times and still vote for me in the end.”

What appears like a smart, strategic confessional on the surface, worries me about Andrea’s story. At the very beginning of the season Jeff summarized Andrea’s first season by saying she flirted her way out of the game. What we saw here looked a lot like flirting with Reynold: A hug, a toast, sharing laughs…a guy could get the wrong idea and jurors rarely vote for those that bonded with them and then voted them out. What’s good for Andrea’s story is that by showing us this confessional, the editors gave her a hook to the end, a storyline that viewers can see unfolding all the way to the final vote: Will Andrea get the votes she tried to charm out of the Fans or will they feel bitter?

Reynold was also given airtime: “I feel great…Life is meant to indulge in glorious abundance. This reward is right in my sweetspot. Winning a reward like this helps to solidify the bonds between people within a tribe. It’s especially important to get these bonds going with the Favorites.”

High on caffeine, Malcolm delivered his thoughts: “In new Gota, everyone on the surface is just smiling. All we do is win challenges and party. It’s just one big happy family really (Brenda and Sherri shown sharing a cracker as Andrea and Erik observed) but at the same time, there’s a game going on. When it comes down to it, I know I’m going to be in trouble when it’s merge time. No one wants to go to the end with me, not that I blame them but I’m going to have to make my move soon. So, I’m keeping a smile on but at the same time I’m getting my pieces ready to take control of this game.”

Will it matter to Malcolm’s game that one of “his pieces”, Erik was then shown sleeping?! Rather interesting placement for this funny image. Also interesting was seeing Brenda, Sherri and Andrea right when Malcolm talked about a game going on. The choice of images suggests that they could also be planning something that will prevent Malcolm from taking control.

Bikal – Day 17

Phillip stated the obvious: Gota had everything they needed to win that challenge.

Corinne’s confessional was used to deliver production’s point of view: “We lost the challenge and I am going to blame the whole thing on Phillip. Phillip can take the blame for this. You tubby lunchbox! I have yet to see an ab on you…He’s just a mess. If everyone sees his true colors and he loses another challenge for us, maybe we vote him out.”

Corinne talked with Cochran about Phil.
Corinne said she could have taken the whole weights.
Cochran agreed that Phillip was delusional.
Corinne expressed her frustrations.
Cochran’s confessional started here.
We heard Corinne saying he was a joke.

Cochran’s confessional: “Phillip and Corinne hate each other. There are so much fracture and divisions within the Favorites on this tribe that it’s like a death sentence. Something is going to happen at one point or another. I’m going to be pushing that we certainly vote out a fan which is not even a certainty at this point because Michael seems capable of wheelin’ and dealin’. He’s already gotten very, very close with Corinne. Julia, on the other hand, is such a non-entity out here. I’m tempted to say that she is like a vanilla personality but I feel that would be doing a great disservice to the flavor of vanilla…Children clamor to get a vanilla flavored ice cream cone. Nobody’s clamoring for anything Julia flavored except for Phillip. Phillip has grown extremely close to Julia and I’m not exactly sure why.”

Right then Phillip told us why when we heard the mission he had in mind for Julia: Go back to her friends after the merge and learn their secrets. He wanted her to be the best double agent but she’d have to keep it a secret to everyone.

In confessional, Phillip told us he thought he had his double agent. He added: “If she feels in trouble she should let me know and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure she stays in the game.”

Julia (solo): “What’s interesting in Phillip is that I don’t find him to be an intimidating character but when he tells me that I have to do this, I understand that, if I want to stay in the game, that’s what I have to do. There will come a point when he really disrupts the unity of the tribe by driving everyone crazy so why not get rid of him?”

We thought this episode would feature the battle to the death between Corinne and Phillip but we now know that Cochran’s patience prevailed and Julia went home. The conflict is still simmering and it seems to be going squarely against Phillip: Corinne kept Michael and has Cochran’s ear while Phillip was forced, maybe even tricked, into giving up his pet Fan. The story, like any good one, should have a twist so we expect Phillip to somehow get rid of Corinne.

Another interesting thing about the last two scenes is that New Bikal has taken over the Have Not theme. We thought the original Gota had to contain the winner but Gota is now the tribe that has the riches and the parties. The winner should be on New Bikal, the new poor! That theme only truly applies to Michael, the sole player left yet to enjoy a reward but we can’t look at it too strictly: All the new Bikals are Have Nots.

Gota – Day 17

Reynold and Malcolm were talking about the numbers, the upcoming immunity and the merge.
Malcolm’s confessional started here.
The two guys went to the ocean to get away from the shelter.
Immediately, Malcolm said: “We’re going to have to stick together. The four of us, the guys, are going to be first four targets. I’m going to bring it to Erik and you bring it to Eddie.”
Malcolm vouched for Eddie and added: “I am fully on page with that. I’ve been lied to by people on the previous tribe so, at this point, the only person I believe is Eddie and I believe you.”
Malcolm agreed: “We’re in the same boat.”
Reynold’s confessional was inserted here as we heard him asking: “Would they tell you if they were gunning for me.”
Malcolm said they would.
Reynold then asked: “Would you tell me?”
Malcolm said he would.
Reynold then said: “I have the idol.”
That brought a smile to Malcolm’s face and his confessional resumed.
The two guys shook hands.

Malcolm’s confessional: “When people have the same problem, it’s easy to bring them together and the 4 alpha males in this game, being myself, Reynold, Eddie and Erik, are going to have a big problem come merge time. The athletic guys are going to get targeted, they are going to get knocked out of the game. What I need to do is kind of spearhead having these four guys joining forces.”
The second part of Malcolm’s confessional: “If I didn’t completely trust Reynold after selling him on this idea, I trust him now because he’s gone so over the top unnecessarily to prove his loyalty that he told me about his idol. I’ve had an idol since day 4 and I wouldn’t offer that if some stranger came to me. So, with this information, I am the only player in the game who knows where both idols are and I can’t wait to see the look on some people’s faces (Andrea, Brenda and Sherri shown in quick succession exactly then) when I take control of this game. God! I can’t wait.”

Reynold’s confessional: “In a game where you cannot trust anybody, it’s hard to tell. You still have to rely on your instincts and Malcolm strikes me like he is the type of guy that is like me and he sees that I can help him and he can definitely help me. So this one feels right and this one is going to be the nail in the coffin for me if I am wrong.”

A very interesting animal imagery occurred before Malcolm’s strategy discussion with Reynold: An eagle flew overhead and it was observed by our little primate, the tarsier. The original impression we had of the tarsier was that it meant a little person would win this season, not one of the big guys. To see that tarsier observing a great bird of prey just before the big guys agreed to a strategy suggests that Malcolm’s plan will fail.

So, for the subject at hand, it’s nice to hear people telling us their own expiry date. By his own words, Reynold told us what will be his downfall: Somehow, trusting Malcolm will get him voted out. How? Isn’t Malcolm working with him? The problem is that Erik needs to be part of this deal and we never heard Erik’s take on the whole thing. He was sleeping when then others started talking strategy during the reward and he wasn’t seen during the shelter scene. Could Erik sell out his fellow alpha males? We saw Andrea, Brenda and Sherri tied together during the reward and the trio again was shown when Malcolm talked about taking control of the game. I think those three will have a surprise in store for Malcolm, Reynold and the viewers.
As a sidenote, Malcolm said he found the idol on Day four but the editors showed his discovery during episode 3, placing it on Day 6. Was it a simple mistake by Malcolm or was his discovery delayed for some unknown reason?


Dawn had a talk with Julia, asking her about her thoughts.
Julia spilled Phillip’s whole plan for a new alliance after the merge. She said she felt bullied.
Dawn’s confessional was heard at this point.
Julia asked Dawn why they didn’t overthrow Phil.
Dawn listened but only said that she won’t say anything to anyone.

Dawn: “Julia approached me and just said: “Phillip really wants me to work with him. I’m OK working under him if that keeps me in the game.” Based on the time I have been with Julia, she didn’t seem very aware of the game so it’s helpful to know that she is thinking more than we thought she was.”

Despite her promise, Dawn relayed the conversation to Phillip, leaving out only the part about overthrowing him.
Phillip called Julia an idiot and we heard his confessional.
Dawn told Phillip: “She needs to go.”
Phillip agreed.

Phillip’s confessional: “Julia, originally, I wanted her here but she’s managed to commit several fou-pas (sic!) in terms of survivor play. I gave her a piece of information and I told her not to go to anyone else for validation and, of course, she went to Dawn and Dawn told me that and Julia won’t know until she’s walking down that aisle with her torch out.”

Was it necessary to use this whole scene to explain Julia’s boot? She had been a non-entity so why use the single moment she was seen trying something to turn it against her? Wouldn’t it simply scare any future player of even trying this much? To make sense, we have to assume that this scene wasn’t only shown to explain Julia’s boot: It also showed Phillip being manipulated and Dawn being a snitch. Neither are qualities that the editors would want to show in their winner. There’s one player that probably had a role in this whole scene but wasn’t shown: Cochran. He’s the one that was wondering about the connection between Julia and Phillip so I suspect he talked to Dawn about it, maybe even suggested she go talk to Julia. It would explain Dawn’s use of the pronoun “WE” when she said “she is thinking more than we thought she was.” It could be a figure of speech but I think this was Cochran’s plan and, if it was, the editors were careful to leave him out of it. Unlike Dawn, who will be seen as a snitch now by many viewers, he escaped unscathed.

The Challenge.

Gota’s navigational error enabled Bikal with Michael, Corinne and Dawn to reach the dock at the same time as Eddie, Brenda and Erik.
Starting second, Phillip tried to catch up but Reynold was on fire as Jeff said and he won it for Gota.
In the upcoming TC, Jeff will criticize Phil for losing the challenge but it seems a bit unfair.


Cochran had a confessional: “We got back to camp and spirits were understandably a little bit low. We just lost and Phillip was kind of sulking around, hiding out behind everybody and then he quickly and very covertly pulled me aside and whispered very intensely (We see Phillip saying that he has a confession to make) and my mind starts racing instantly: Has he done something around camp? Is he going to betray Corinne tonight? What could it possibly be?”

We accompanied the pair into the woods.

Phillip’s confessional: “I loved what Jeff had in store for us today in the challenge. We were close in the challenge, probably could have won that challenge had I wanted to.”

We heard Phillip saying the same thing to Cochran: “I didn’t want to win that challenge.”
Cochran started laughing: “I knew you were going to say that.”
Phillip explained: “I couldn’t see Julie at the merge.”
The end of Cochran’s confessional was heard here.
Phillip went on to say he pretended to give his best but he wouldn’t have used the same technique if he wanted to win.
The camera showed that Cochran had trouble containing his laughter when Phillip mentioned the male lion killing the cubs of a rival male.
Cochran said: “You were taking out the cubs.”
The two men agreed to split the votes in case Michael had the idol.

Cochran’s confessional: “It all makes sense: We had to throw the challenge in order to get rid of one of these Fans or else we were doomed. It was the only reason why Phillip wasn’t successful in throwing a grappling hook. I mean; it’s complete crap! You can’t make up this level of delusion and that’s what excites me about playing with Phillip. I think that he is convinced at this point that he threw the challenge. He wasn’t throwing the challenge, he was trying his hardest, he was in full spy mode. Can you imagine the speech he would have given back at camp had he successfully thrown a grappling hook, the spy’s basic tool, in a challenge and won the challenge for us? It’s absurd. The numbers on this tribe are 4 Favorites, two Fans. That numbers advantage means that the 4 of us can split the votes across the two remaining Fans, flush out any possible idols and on the revote we can get rid of Julia.”

Three Favorites agreed to split the votes but Corinne didn’t want to do it.
Corinne explained that she wanted Michael to work with them after the merge: “I want to do everything in my power so that he feels safe, comfortable and that he trusts us.”
Cochran was on screen when she said that and the alarms that resounded from the orchestra must have also resonated in his head.
Corinne gave us a confessional.
Phillip wouldn’t budge: “I already have the numbers without him. I don’t need him.”
Corinne and Dawn said they might need him.
Phil said he played with Boston Rob and “he would never say he needs him.”
Phil’s confessional was then placed here.

Corinne’s confessional: “I don’t like the idea of splitting votes because I know I want to send Julia home and I know there’s no idol because I have the idol with Malcolm and I don’t want to go into a merge with Michael second guessing what’s going on. That’s just bad business and I don’t know why I can’t convince the rest of the alliance of that.”

Now that’s funny! It means that Corinne heard us saying how much Kota had been dumb to split the votes between Dan and Susie before the merge in Gabon! She learned from her previous mistake but she makes another, bigger one: She let her allies know that she had another alliance.

Phillip’s confessional: “Corinne, who is in love with Michael, seems to have this notion that it needs to be “a show of unity. I don’t want him to think that we are not 100% behind him.” I’m not an idiot: I do see it and I see her putting her selfish interests above the Favorites’. I played with the smartest player that I had the opportunity to play with: Boston Rob. I know exactly what BR would do in this situation. BR would say: OK Corinne, we vote Michael out the game.”

Phillip told Cochran and Dawn that the core alliance was the three of them, not Corinne. He said he was voting against Michael who was smart and doing exactly what he needed to do.
Corinne joined them, asking what was going on.
Phillip cut her off saying she interrupted a conversation he was having with the other two, pushing her away.

Corinne had another confessional: “Phillip is beyond awful. If this was the real world, I would kick his ##### but for me it’s a waiting game until I get to hold up my parchment and go: This is what Boston Rob would have done.”

Dawn and Cochran looked really uncomfortable between the two.

Cochran had the last confessional to explain the situation: “Phillip wants to vote off Michael. I don’t know if his plan is set in stone but it obviously has nothing to do with Julia or Michael. It’s masking something that’s about to come to the surface. Tonight’s vote will probably set in motion a series of events that completely bring this Corinne/Phillip feud to the surface and make it clear why they can’t play together.”

Tribal Council

Julia and Michael sat in the hot seats.
Michael explained that tension grows when morale his low.
Julia explained that the Favorites’ tension comes from looking down the road, passed this tribal council.
Jeff went straight to Corinne when he fgured out that the tension came from a division between keeping Michael and Julia.
Corinne said they didn’t want to screw something and regret it down the line.
Phillip said they clashed on the process of getting things done.
Dawn told Jeff she felt what it was like to be between Corinne and Phillip, adding: “If we have the same goal in the end, the conflict may be OK.”
Jeff accused Phillip of putting himself in the hero’s role during the challenge and failing.
Phillip said he had prevailed in that role before but he admitted he lost the challenge.
Cochran looked amused by Jeff’s put-down of Phillip, no doubt reflecting most of the viewers’ reaction.
Michael said he had been trying to convince everyone to keep him since he landed on the beach, working hard and showing he can be trusted.
Jeff went back to Corinne’s admission about liking the gay guy. He asked if that could work against him.
Cochran agreed that it could.
Corinne interjected that it was all exaggerated.
Michael was eager to find out how the vote would turn out.
Julia said that she may have gotten too comfortable and that could come back to hurt her.

Jeff sent them to vote and they came back with a 3-3 split.
The revote led to Julia’s unanimous elimination.
Jeff addressed his final words to Michael: “The writing’s on the wall: You’ve got your work cut out for you.”

The Story

This episode was mostly about Phillip’s illusion of grandeur which served as masking agent for a very predictable and boring outcome. Since we’ve had 21 episodes now to familiarize ourselves with Phillip’s delusions we may have to look elsewhere to analyze our players, to separate the contenders from the pretenders and see if we are still on the right track with our winner’s story. Having reached the end of Act I, it’s the perfect time to look back at the themes we’ve had up to now and see where they have brought us.

The first episode told us that the returning players make the game play faster. The message behind this was that it wasn’t a good idea to play too hard too fast.
Many of the players that sprinted out of the gate are gone but Phillip, Andrea, Reynold, Eddie and Michael are still here though. It’s interesting that all but Andrea appear to be in danger.
We liked a lot more Dawn and Cochran’s start and those two have remained in excellent position.

The premiere also told us that this season was about correcting mistakes.

According to Jeff, Andrea lost her first game because she flirted and this episode showed her getting close to the Fans and especially Reynold in a way that some could call flirtatious. Her connection to Sherri was more subtle and indicated that these two could work together and foil the plan of the big guys.

Brenda had tried to use her looks but she hadn’t charmed everyone. We still don’t know exactly where she stands in this game but we can say that she hasn’t used her looks. Instead, she has used a waiting game that was nicely defined by Phillip: Serenity.

Erik’s mistake was his inexperience. It’s impossible to judge if he has learned anything because he hasn’t shown anything.

Malcolm simply dropped the ball on the final challenge. Could it be that we see Malcolm going down the same path? Malcolm’s talk with Reynold sounded a lot like his conversation with Tandang’s Pete even if their positions are reversed, Malcolm now holding the majority. As easily as he had done with Pete, Malcolm earned enough trust to learn about Reynold’s idol. Last time, circumstances forced Malcolm to play against Pete and the same could apply today, making Reynold’s prophecy come true. Malcolm is using the same strategy as before, depending on winning immunities and having the strong guys protecting each other. It shouldn’t work any better this time.

Corinne was said to have made many enemies. This time, she has antagonized Phillip which is much worse than having Sugar working against you. She hasn’t learned.

Phillip is still labeled crazy.

Dawn was too loyal to go along with Cochran. Did that really kill her game though? Wasn’t it a bigger mistake to let Cochran flip? She’s still very close to Cochran but that can’t be called a mistake.

Cochran’s mistake was his lack of loyalty. This season, we certainly see that he is totally loyal to his allaince even if he has trouble keeping a straight face around Phil.

The second episode let us in on the power structure of both tribes where Phillip and Sherri acted as leader. Brenda, Erik and Eddie weren’t part of either “corporation” while Reynold wanted to overthrow the one reigning on his beach. We liked much more the roles given to Michael, Cochran and Dawn because they were close enough to be heard but not so close that they didn’t have other options.

The third episode showed us that Survivor was a lot like a Poker game. The two wild cards are now gone so we can see more clearly. We have to say that Reynold showing his cards to Malcolm cannot be good. We also see that Sherri and Phillip have lost a lot of chips and they enter the merge in a weakened position. Michael’s waiting game worked better for him than Matt and Dawn’s still in a good position. Corinne and Malcolm are raising the stakes again, each playing their own game. Can they reconnect? Their new allies didn’t get along very well so how will Corinne’s gay guy work with Malcolm’s alliance of the strong guys? Cochran hasn’t lost his position being the observer that knows the plans of others. It will be interesting to see if he sniffs out the new alliance of the “Bold and Beautiful” and their idols.

Episode 4 showed that we had a new version of Haves versus Have Nots and it’s funny that now all the fans except Michael are part of the nouveaux riches! Since the editors were showing so clearly that the Favorites had an advantage, we figured that the only possible twist to the story would be to see a Fan emerge victorious but now the twist would be to see a new Bikal to contain the winner. That certainly improves Michael’s story because he is the only true Have Not left but that theme applies to all of new Bikal who don’t share in the abundance and the parties.

Watching the segments of episode 5 that didn’t include Brandon, we thought we were witnessing a turning point but maybe we had to look at it the other way and see which player stayed the course even in such a tumultuous episode. Eddie and Cochran were the only two players who went through that episode without a change in their story. Since Eddie’s story has always been in neutral, we can see how episode 5 was pointing us directly to Cochran.

Episode 6 which showed us so many players talking of flipping certainly pointed us to Cochran as the guy that was loyal to his alliance which, once more, showed that he was correcting his earlier mistake. When unity was threatened within his alliance, Cochran acted a lot like Chris with Sarge: “Corinne will have to go but now is not the time.”

The merge leaves us with 4 factions, two of which are in open warfare. How do the characters fit in?

The Leaders:

1) Phillip: He could very well be in an alliance of 1. Dawn and Cochran are both keeping a respectful distance even if he considers them in his core 3 while Andrea may be wise to stay away when she learns how things developed in her absence. This episode looked to go Corinne’s way because Michael stayed but Phillip got his split vote and I believe he will prevail against her mostly because Cochran knows he can manipulate the Specialist, to stroke his ego, more easily than the Dominatrix!.

2) Corinne: She tried so hard to keep Michael that he could be her only ally left. Michael has been a very patient player up to now so we can’t tell if he has committed to Corinne. She could find herself in the role of Don Quixote fixating on the windmill that is Phillip. Well, he’s more hot wind than windmill but…

3) Malcolm: He could use Corinne to get precious information about the other tribe but it feels that the danger comes from within his own tribe. He’s counting on Erik but we have never seen the two guys talking strategy. We’ve all heard about alliances revealed don’t succeed but this sounded more like a mistake than a sound strategy. Erik once survived the massacre of strong guys at the merge so he may try to play with the women this time. What cracked me up is that once more we saw the formation of an alliance of 4. Another alliance working hard to form a minority!

4) Andrea: It’s a stretch to call her a leader but she acted in her own self interests at the merge when she decided to get close to the Fans. If she learns about Malcolm’s plan to unite the strong guys, she could be the one taking charge of the alliance that will bring him down. It would be a nice twist to Malcolm’s line about being a good liar. The camera suggested that she could count on Sherri, Brenda and Erik and she has ties to the other tribe to help.

The Pawns:

1) Eddie: He seems to be completely irrelevant. The only story line I can see that would give him a nice role down the stretch would be betraying Reynold’s trust. Will Eddie turn on Reynold? It would be fun to watch but I really doubt it will happen. Eddie is the foot soldier that is lost on the battlefield. He may not step immediately on a landmine but he won’t impact the game.

2) Reynold: Once it infiltrates enemy lines, a pawn can become so powerful that it can decide the game but the pawn never wins it for itself: It always brings victory to someone else. Reynold’s move can serve Malcolm’s game more than his own. Malcolm could use Reynold or his idol as a shield or he could play a nice gambit by telling others about Reynold’s idol, sacrificing a pawn to get control of the game.

3) Sherri: This once promising character has faded completely in the back of the theater now that the real players are stepping in. Still, the camera went to her a few times to suggest that she could return to the forefront. The dynamics of the merge will tell us exactly what to expect from this character.

4) Brenda: The camera showed her doing what she does best: Leading the cheer when her team marched to victory. There could be a metaphor there for her outcome in the game: Could Brenda be carried to victory even if she isn’t really playing? She won a nice reward even if she sat out. She could win the big prize by staying out of the drama, by doing exactly what she has up to now. It wouldn’t make for a very interesting story but we have seen variations of it before.

5) Erik: I don’t think we saw Erik sleeping during the reward simply because it was a funny moment. I think it was a clear hint that Erik will not make big moves during this game. It’s possible that he’s learned that big moves only lead to failure. So, the question is how will he react when Malcolm approaches him with the idea of an alpha male alliance? Just the thought of Erik as an alpha male is enough for us to chuckle! Oscar’s puppy dog! Natalie’s gift giver! Cirie’s finger licker! I’d say that Erik is playing only to avoid looking like a fool this time but then I’d have to explain his haircut… That mystery notwithstanding, I think Erik is more a follower than an alpha so he could refuse to go along with Malcolm, preferring to play it safe, going with Andrea instead.

The Power Players:

1) Michael: The waiting game has given Michael a very powerful position. He has an ally on Bikal and one on Gota and he doesn’t have to worry about the vote because the merge will do all the work for him. Sure, he could mess everything for himself by making a big move but he becomes a target only if Phillip manages to convince the other two factions that Corinne’s “army of one” is the clear and immediate danger.

2) Dawn: Her decisions have been carefully laid out for us to follow but her role in two evictions hasn’t been exactly flattering. The elimination of Francesca was called vicious and Brandon put most of the blame on her shoulders. She played the role of the snitch in Julia’s elimination, something that many viewers will find distasteful. Still, Dawn’s overall story is very interesting and being on the Have Not tribe gives her an underdog status. What will she decide now that there are bigger fishes to fry than Corinne and Phillip? The character we have been shown will probably once more rely on Cochran for this big decision.

3) Cochran: The one with the true power may have to infiltrate the other tribe to make the best decision. Andrea could serve as his source but is she aware of what’s truly developing? Even without insider information, the friendship between Reynold, Malcolm and Eddie should be obvious especially to someone that was already weary of Malcolm. The advantage that Cochran has is positional: Malcolm has pieces on both tribes but they are not necessarily working together. Malcolm’s pawns, Reynold and Eddie, have been outsiders from the start. Cochran could attack Malcolm’s Queen’s pawn, namely Michael, or go after the Queen herself: Corinne.

Cochran has already shown that he has corrected the mistake that he made the first time. He understands the need for loyalty and he has made his way into the core of the Favorites’ alliance. Andrea and Dawn have had good stories from the beginning while Malcolm is rapidly building a nice one for himself but Cochran has the proper connections to the themes of the season so far. Survivor Caramoan should be the story of Cochran becoming Sole Survivor.

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04-01-13, 04:04 PM (EST)
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52. "RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: "
One of the things Cochran has going for him is that he's not as evil as he was in his first season. All of his majorly annoying attributes have been minimalized, and his minorly annoying attributes have turned to endearing qualities.

Hail to the Champion.

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Murphy3126 104 desperate attention whore postings
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04-02-13, 08:44 AM (EST)
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53. "RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: "
I can see where no one will want Phillip as a goat this time. Boston Rob drug Phillip kicking & screaming to final 3. If Phillip makes final 3 this time, it will be largely on his own & might earn a few votes. Even as crazy & offensive as he is, he might get those votes & win. He's got some ability at some challenges. I hate the idea of Phillip as Ponderosa or Reunion saying he was voted off early because he was such a big threat, but the longer he stays around, he develops more as a potential winner. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about that!
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Murphy3126 104 desperate attention whore postings
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04-02-13, 12:08 PM (EST)
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54. "RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: "
It seems the theme this season is the cool kids lose, as Eddie pointed out before the swap, starting with Hope & Allie, & Reynold & Eddie soon to follow; the bullies & mean people going out in flames, starting with Brandon, with Corrine & Phillip soon to follow; & Cochran, the meekest of the weak, inheriting the game.
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04-09-13, 03:17 PM (EST)
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60. "RE: Episode 7 - Delusions: "
Here I am catching up again. I liked the mini-recap of the episodes and reminding me that the theme of correcting mistakes. It does seem that the one's correcting things are Cochran, Dawn and Andrea. Nice job michel, off to read more...

I should be watched....closely.

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04-05-13, 06:33 PM (EST)
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55. "S26 Episode 8 - Editing Thoughts"
The merge is here! While there were some enjoyable moments in this episode, as far as being a merge episode, for me it fell a little short. Perhaps because there really hasn't been enough of an established opposition to the dominant players. Personally, I would liked to hear from all the players, whether production finds them part of the story or not (good story-telling would weave them in somehow!) There's still not enough from Brenda and Erik, even Eddie and Sherri. Although it was nice that Philip took a back seat, and at least half of the players were being shown a bunch this episode. I also would've preferred a blindside as a viewer, rather than only witnessing the player feeling blindsided. Yes it was fun to watch that Corinne didn't see it coming. But as a fan of editing, I knew (as did many others here) that this was coming episodes ago. I think they could've handled the edit differently to add more suspense, or perhaps give us an alternate boot choice that we might actually believe had more of chance to get booted. I don't know, just my opinion.

One quick note about the recap that I thought was rather questionable - we got to hear one of the most blatant examples of revisionist history by Jeff when he stated that Bikal unanimously voted out Julia (in not mentioning the initial splitting of the votes). Was this an attempt to let us think this episode that everyone would continue to "go along with Corinne" despite how they have been cramming a possible flip against her over these past eps. At the very least, it's yet another instance that leans toward production thinking that viewers have no memory.

Onto the episode - yes, like the title says it's "blindside time". As I noted during the tribe switch ep, it was simply drawn out by the editors as they had little to tell over at Bikal with two back-to-back Fan boots. It really wasn't too difficult to point out, as I thought the editors were too revealing with all of Corinne's confessionals and that her assessments would prove ironic. On top of this, if for some reason a viewer might not have seen it coming, it was surely being spelled out for us in this episode. Still, maybe there was one or two people out there that were surprised by the end of TC.

We clearly did see that Corinne overplayed her hand. When we heard her say "after this vote... I want him gone" to Dawn in the jungle, we got justification that it was Corinne that made a fatal mistake in talking too much about her plans. And Dawn's reaction was perfect. She didn't lead on to Corinne what she was really thinking. And then she went ahead and told Cochran. Learning from her previous season's mistake and telling us about it in the process.

The conversation between Cochran & Dawn made it clear that Corinne's boot was indeed their decision. We heard from Dawn: "If I had the numbers to vote her out tonight, I would" and Cochran's response: "I'd love that." This was a very pivotal shift to see, as we've been fed for several episodes the whole build up leading to Corinne's boot had be her feud with Philip (not to mention a few confessional's about Andrea's disdain for her). Big points for Dawn and Cochran with being shown as having the sense to see how important this boot would be at this juncture in the game.

Here's some thoughts on the individual players:

Erik: It's a bit frustrating that we're not hearing more from Erik. Even though he got 2 confessionals this ep, they were so quick. He even stated that "suddenly he's becoming a valuable player" but we are not seeing or hearing anything that substantiates this. His key scene was having Andrea point to the tribal flag to the name of the bootee. Ugh! Not just for Erik's gameplay, but for productions lack of any story telling manipulation to give us something more than this. I don't know if I've ever seen a more lame swing-vote in the history of the show. Is it really that hard at this stage in the game for the editors to factor in all of the players to some storyline? Although we are privy to hearing Andrea say to Cochran that Erik is "wish-washy" and then emphasizing that she needs to count "even Erik, of all people!" - and Cochran referring to "an ice-cream scooper" in a derogatory and stating that he's "incompetent at playing this game" - wow, those are harsh words describing someone who we barely get to hear speak. Goodness, if they hate the guy so much, why did they bring him back in the first place? (And for the record, I actually like Erik, so this is no bearing on him personally)

Brenda: Nothing from Brenda... Again! The only reason why I separate her out from my comments about Erik, is that Brenda is being ignored more than he is. How is that even possible! It was odd to see Corinne listing her "6" for the vote, and then add the possibility of Dawn. How is there not a possibility of Brenda? Brenda was with the nuGota guys and was never really in with the Bikal favorites. The only thing that comes to mind is that she has decided to go along with Andrea (as we've seen them bonding through the Brandon fiasco) But we are not showing any connections Brenda may have, or even hearing of her from others. I really find it hard to believe that she is taking a complete backseat to the game, so why is production ignoring her?

Sherri: She was spared being voted out at this TC, but her story appears to be greatly reduced since her early days in the game. Her one confessional this episode, we heard her say "I'm ready to make a big move" & "I can't stand Philip" It seems like she has no chances to win the game, but will she have the opportunity to make a big move to take Philip out later in the game?

Michael: His comments were fun at the challenge (as was Dawn's lack of understanding of "go," Andrea's ship-worm mustache, and Cochran's victory dance). All we ever get from Michael is narrative though. We do sense that he has a strategic bone or two in his body, but with how the game is playing out, it's looking like he won't be able to use them. He seems like an example of what Dawn stated about how NOT to play, to not let the game happen to you. Unfortunately for Michael, the game is happening all around him.

Eddie: Nothing much from him this episode. We see him alongside Malcolm and strategy talking with Reynold & Corinne, but hear none of his thoughts on these matters. He appears to be nestled within the losing side of the numbers. Of note, on second-viewing the ep (and after seeing previews for next ep) it was interesting to see that Eddie sat himself next to Andrea on the crowded loser bench after losing the penultimate round of the challenge. Makes me wonder if this relationship was developing over at nuGota - if so, then why has there been a delay in telling the romance story?

Reynold: Well, it's apparent that Reynold has been chosen as the voice of the Fans, as he's had twice as many confessionals as any other fan in the first 8 episodes. Although it doesn't seem that he's been chosen because he will make it to the endgame. He is simply an alpha male that production can highlight due to his challenge prowess and he found 2 HII's. That's certainly enough to get the spotlight for awhile, but given the amount that we've heard from Reynold, you'd think we'd get more substance about his gameplay and strategy. We even heard him give his own recap this ep about him being duped before. And while he was totally duped this time, he fell on the wrong side of the vote. I think if the tide was turning for Reynold moving forward, we would've gotten a hint of it in the pivotal merge episode. Unfortunately for him, we didn't.

Malcolm: It's not looking too good for Malcolm, either. Him whispering in the jungle, "Nobody wants us around" was certainly noted - Yes, Malcolm, you got that right! And now, due to the TC votes falling the way they did, you'll see that you weren't cued in by the favorites to their plan. This will surely cause his lack of security to quickly escalate. From an editing standpoint the most worrisome thing for Malcolm was for him to receive a confessional right after Cochran talking about his challenge win. With the audience likely agreeing with the Enil Edam tribe members in being happy for Cochran, it wasn't good to hear Malcolm state so shorty afterward that he wanted Cochran gone (and with slightly sinister music to accompany his claims). Seeing Malcolm mustering to assemble a new alliance this episode, and last, and have it never come to fruition, is actually making him look like a weak player. He does have an idol, but we're not getting any hints that he'll be able to play it in a significant way.

Philip: We finally got a break from Philip this episode (not completely, but in comparison to what we've been getting). And what we did see wasn't to positive for him, even though we all know that he'd be extremely happy with outcome at TC. I think it's very telling that the instrumental scenes for sealing Corinne's fate were given to Dawn and Cochran, and basically took any of the credit for her boot away from Philip. Not such a great follow-up to his previous strong comment about "waiting for the proper moment to get rid of her" - he was still waiting until he was prompted by Andrea, who we saw was prompted by Cochran, who was prompted by Dawn. How much control do you think you really have, Philip?

Andrea: Good episode for Andrea. Once again, we're getting some great insights from her and we're constantly aware that her head is in the game. She's been shown to be connected with everyone too, and can arguably have the best social game out there. We've seen her talk with Dawn and Cochran, she was nestled nicely between Cochran and Philip regarding the Corinne boot info exchange. She was the one who told Erik which way to vote. We've seen her bond with Malcolm and Brenda before, and to add on top of all this, we'll soon learn of her connection with Eddie. While there may be something missing from her edit, I don't think she's being set up for a fall just yet. Next episode will be telling for her, now that she'll be faced with the "flirting" factor that we heard ruined her game (well, based on the overview narration in ep 1)

Cochran: Great episode for Cochran! He's already been playing a stronger season than his first and if we were to compare the two merge episodes we would see the most contrast. Sure it helped that he had the Immunity necklace, but Cochran played smooth when catching wind of possibility not being on the majority side of the numbers. From being so observant all season and such a fan of the game, he was able to fluctuate the direction of the numbers in his favor - agreeing with Dawn and confirming with Andrea who to align with. He had the meat within his confessionals to both narrate and share his individual insights. Plus we witnessed others, including Jeff, talk of him fondly. Not to mention he aptly stated, "Somehow everyone seemed happy for me." Who wouldn't want to be in that position!

Dawn: Great episode for Dawn, too! It's interesting that several others got more confessionals that Dawn this episode, yet she was front and center, starring with Cochran once again. Along with getting key scenes, she had too lengthy confessional that contained some splicing along with many quotes that are tying her to the endgame (and a possible victory) Seeming pretty determined in stating: "You have to be the one's who make the decisions, those are the people that win" Dawn let us know, in no uncertain terms, that she is in it to win it. And important to the theme of not making the same mistakes, we are witnessing Dawn take action to counter what she saw as her fatal mistake the last time she played the game. She was shown as making the decision to boot Corinne, and TC went in her favor. Dawn is showing up when it counts. I'm still thinking Cochran will take the season, but for this episode Dawn really stood out to me - gotta give her props

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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04-06-13, 07:50 PM (EST)
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56. "Episode 8 - The Decision-Makers "
Hello Aaron,
here are my thoughts after this episode.

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!

The Challenge

We started of with Gervase’s favorite: Beetle larvae.
Andrea, Malcolm, Eddie, Cochran, Phillip and Michael moved on.

We then had shipworms 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-squeek, and Malcolm, the golden god of this tribe, and the fact that I won! Hi-Hi-Hi! is dream fullfillment. 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 was 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.

Tribal Council

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.

The Story.

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.

The Characters

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:

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.

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Chillicrab 50 desperate attention whore postings
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04-09-13, 00:44 AM (EST)
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57. "Opinion on "tailor-made" comment"
Have been following this thread for the longest time. Thank you guys for sharing your insights.

Was wondering the significance of the substitled comment by Cochran after he was explaining that although he might seem to be flaunting his Immunity Win, its only because it was a once in a life time thing or some such. He mentioned that it was as if it(the necklace) was tailor made for him, and that comment was subtitled after several sentences were skipped.

I remember someone mentioning that seeing who were playing for the Favs, also I feel that the Fans this round aren't particularly savy with their game, would they be so blatant as to highlight that they had "tailor-made" this season for a Cochran win?

Would like to know what the views of the more seasoned spoilers are. Thanks

My third try at posting this. Not sure why I don't seem able to do it.

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04-09-13, 01:14 AM (EST)
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58. "RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" comment"
My third try at posting this. Not sure why I don't seem able to do it.

The site has been glitchy since New Year's Eve. Don't know why that is, but don't click on the "remain logged in" box when signing in.

Expanding threads also no longer works. Damn shame, that was sometimes a useful tool.

As for the significance of Cochran's display of victory, in my view everyone forgave it because he is viewed as the ultimate underdog who lucked into his onetime victory. No one not even Cochran himself ever expected it would happen, laugh it off and let him enjoy his moment, he is inoffensive.

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Belle Book 3556 desperate attention whore postings
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04-09-13, 11:25 AM (EST)
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59. "RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" comment"
This is off-topic, I know, but I just wanted to note that I was wondering why the "remained logged in" box didn't work when I logged in and tried to use it! Thanks for letting me know that, Dabo!

Anyway, back to Cochran, I think his display of victory is more due to a sense of shock that he actually won a challenge than anything else! Remember, he's a better strategist than he is a competitor in challenges!

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04-09-13, 06:51 PM (EST)
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62. "RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" comment"
Nice catch, Chillicrab!

If you want to know what I think of it, I see it as another clue in the search for our winner. The way I work is that I consider we have 11 "suspects" left and we've been gathering clues on all of them. Cochran, Dawn and Andrea have to be considered front runners.

The "tailor-made" comment is like finding his sweater vest at the crime scene. It doesn't mean that Cochran "did it" but it's something to add to the rest of the evidence.

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04-10-13, 01:28 AM (EST)
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63. "RE: Opinion on "tailor-made" comment"
I would enjoy a Cochran win but I really took note of Dawn's comments about not making the same mistake as the last time she played. It made me think she could be our winner since that is one of this season's themes.
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04-09-13, 04:08 PM (EST)
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61. "RE: Episode 8 - The Decision-Makers "

I should be watched....closely.

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04-13-13, 00:32 AM (EST)
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64. "S26 Episode 9 - Editing Thoughts"
LAST EDITED ON 04-13-13 AT 02:50 AM (EST)

Hey All! Here are my editing thoughts about the episode:

The recap highlighted Corinne's blindside as such, "When Dawn caught wind, Stealth-R-Us had to decide" showing a scene with Dawn, then a scene with Andrea & Cochran with Andrea saying "I'm kinda up for a blindside." Philip was neither shown nor mentioned specifically. Interesting how Philip was not given any credit despite his on-going feud with Corinne. Just goes to show that Philip will get lots of attention and airtime, no matter what his standing or importance to the endgame results.

Odd that we heard from Reynold first at the start of the episode. And that there were no night confessionals following TC about Corinne's blindside. We were not privy to see how the 4 remaining players who didn't vote for Corinne were treated when getting back to camp, or what they might've said about the majority's reactions. Could it be that they were treated like they were on the outs?.. and showing any scenes would be too telling about their standing moving forward. Would this be too obvious to show, would production rather manipulate the bad news for those 4 (Michael, Malcolm, Eddie & Reynold) by showing Reynold's rather optimistic take on what happened? Lots of unanswered questions. It simplified things by showing him say it was actually a good thing for him, since a Favorite went home. Still this take on the blindside didn't really ring much hope for the underdogs. It simply fell in line with all the narrator attention Reynold has been getting as lead voice of the Fans. Plus, by this time, we've heard many a confessional come from Reynold that had no basis in reality of how the game is playing out.

We then heard Malcolm's take on the matter. Once again we got a positive spin by on the matter, with him saying now that Corinne is gone no one knows that he has the HII. We also have Malcolm state the episode title "Cut off the head of the snake" alluding that the rebel leader is him rather than Corinne. We'd come to learn, the first segment of the show was setting up what we would see go down at the next TC, while giving us a brief recount of the effect of Corinne's blindside.

Second segment brought some more foolishness about Stealth-R-Us, with Philip welcoming Sherri into the group. Sorry, I'm not a fan of this played-out gag, although I have to give credit to Philip for his attempts to reel in Sherri after the vote. Sure she would likely not want to vote with those who voted against her, but Philip's shenanigans could likely allow Sherri to feel safer with the group and further ensure that she won't flip over. Sherri's confessionals were peculiar too, as she referred to Philip as her "Shamar" on this tribe. (Remember in ep 2 she referred to Shamar as her "Philip" - and we saw how that went). It connects a thread in Sherri's storyline to revisit this, but it doesn't seem like a positive reference for Philip to be reduced to her "Shamar." (Also of note, that confessional was split from Sherri's confessional last week when she stated she didn't like Philip, but would go along with him. Why are they stretching this out for viewers?)

At the reward challenge, Jeff mentioned that it was a schoolyard pick, but we did not see it happen. One team was stacked with more men, and they inched out the win. Most notable of Jeff's commentary during the RC was: "Cochran is on a tear at challenges lately" - which has got to be one of the most blatant examples of pining for a contestant in some time. Brenda got the first goal out of everyone and Erik got the winning goal - where is the love for them, Jeff?! ;)

At the reward we got to hear the two varying perspectives about the waterfall repelling from Cochran & Reynold. Right on par, we got a self-deprecating funny account from Cochran and a confident response from Reynold. To juxtapose these two castaways even more, we heard from them further during the picnic (with no confessionals from the other 3 men). We heard Reynold's alpha-male response about their "post big win, locker room, guys mentality going on." (Totally, Reynold - ha!) and then we get Cochran's perspective "I won't be engaging in any masculine tomfoolery with these numbskulls" Whose words are we likely to see come true?

Back at camp we got to hear from Malcolm again. He continues to discuss his positioning in the tribe and how he could use the Fans and another Favorite to pull the numbers back in his favor. It's nice to see that Malcolm is trying to maneuver, but how could any viewer find this plan plausible. The biggest problem with even enjoying Malcolm's thoughts are that we as viewers are not really aligned with Malcolm's thinking. Yes, it could be argued that Sherri is on the bottom of the majority alliance, but how is Dawn lower on the totem pole than Erik or Brenda. Shame on the editor's for not cluing us in about anything regarding Brenda's game, or more about Erik. It was one thing to not show us how close Corinne was to Dawn, and make her look stupid for confiding in Dawn last episode. But now Malcolm looks stupid for confiding in Dawn, and while it might not be the smartest move, it's enhanced because we hear no reasoning as to why Malcolm would not go to Brenda or Erik.

In confessional, we got to hear Dawn counter Malcolm's plans. She sees him as trouble and wants him out. As Sherri confides in Andrea, with Dawn & Philip there, we hear Andrea make the proposal to lead Malcolm on, and then vote him out. We then heard Philip's vehement reaction about "how dare Malcolm think he can take out the specialist" (which is shown as the editors have invested so much in the Stealth-R-Us storyline) How this scene went down (at least as how it was shown to us) was similar to the information chain with Corinne and these opposing players last episode. Granted, in this scenario we had the addition of Sherri (and the exclusion of Cochran, since he was on reward. Regarding the other players, it played out as so: Dawn comes by information, comments to us how she doesn't think it's right, and snitches to her group. Andrea learns of information, quickly processes it, and continues to share while trying to control the outcome. Philip at the end of the trail, catches wind of the new developments, doesn't like it, and we hear him agree with what we've heard should be the directed outcome. Which one of these is the best position to be in? Well, it depends on the season of survivor, and who ends up winning. The editors can spin any of those positions as being the best one to play. But so far I'm seeing some fault with how each these players are being edited from these vantage points (as to how it might indicate a win/loss) Upcoming episodes will either support their positions or give us further evidence that their position will not lead them to victory. We are already seeing how fickle Dawn's position can be. Last week, it seemed like a positive that she was able to snitch & turn the vote on Corinne. But this week she's taking the same tactic with Malcolm, but the results were different (therefore the reaction will be too). It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I liked that the scene with Andrea and Eddie wasn't just about romance, and that it showed how it has affected both of their strategies (yes, Eddie, likely has a strategy ;) This was integral to the scene showing the scrambling about the boot choice prior to TC (perhaps signifying the reason why we hadn't seen anything about this relationship until now)

Immunity challenge - Ha, when Jeff was describing the challenge and mentioned "the ability to stay calm" we have a cut to Dawn doing her best to download that advice. We saw a shot of Andrea when he said, "it's slow, but it's steady"
Here are some other notable things we heard from Jeff and what was show who he said it:
"You are running out of space" - Cochran shown
"Now you're gonnna be tested - Philip shown
"You need to remain clam" - Dawn shown (again!)
"Biggest obstacle is your sense of panic" - Sherri shown opting out of challenge
"Dawn struggling to stay in this" - Dawn shown opting out of challenge
"In a matter of 3 seconds, the 3 remaining guys opted out" - Eddie, Cochran & Reynold opt out
"Brenda has not moved..." - ha, Brenda shown
"Andrea struggling a bit, but still in it" - Andrea shown
"And she's back in it. Andrea's still in it. Still fighting" - Andrea finally opting out.
This is an interesting depiction of the final showdown of the challenge. What we hear sounded pretty positive for Andrea even though she lost. An excellent example of how editing can manipulate how we perceive the "loser." Juxtapose this with the commentary shown between Cochran and Malcolm in the last IC showdown.

Back at camp, we get to see Malcolm and Andrea spar up against each other. Malcolm declaring: "Andrea's calling the shots" and Andrea stating: "Malcolm's a good liar" and throwing a compliment to Dawn in calling her "an MVP" and saying "she's good at this." We're hearing that Andrea is aware that they're both lying, but Malcolm is not. Is this simply to build suspense for the episode? To some degree yes, but Malcolm is further thrown into contrast as we see him trusting Dawn, who is telling us behind his back that "it's nuts" and that he's not "dialed in." Dawn is playing him. And Malcolm is buying it. And we see Malcolm funnel this information through his alliance chain, informing Reynold to show Dawn the idol to assure her allegiance.

After showing Dawn the idol, we see Reynold relaying the information chain via the "lesser" alliance members, Michael and Eddie. And to some surprise, Eddie crosses chains to share information with Andrea (although he forewarns Reynold). Yes, we were shown his bond to her, but it was rather proactive for Eddie to suddenly make such a bold move. And to Andrea no less - the most likely person to do everything in her power to change things around to get her way. And we get to see Andrea wield that power. Very easily getting the information from Eddie that her name is being brought up. Then we have a confessional of Andrea in tears saying it's she who is going home next. Then we see her chatting with Cochran, who agrees with her "I'm fine with Michael," and then her pleading the case with Philip. Dawn is not as easy to convince. We see Dawn begin to breakdown a bit, as she realizes that her recent deceptive behavior may be all for naught.

Now onto the players:

Michael - Kudos you're on the jury. Although you also made it into a small club of players who didn't get a confessional in their boot episode. I thought you deserved better. But you were admittedly not part of the action and scheming in the episode, so all the players got from and center. Plus, you got stuck on a season with a premise that wasn't in your favor. Oh well, enjoy, Ponderosa!

Brenda - Scored the first goal at the RC, and won the IC. It was great to hear her enthusiastic confessional about her IC win - Brenda has got the strength and the personality to really allow the viewers to get behind her and be pleased with her win. It was also good to hear that although she is playing a more under-the-radar strategy this time around, she feels it's smart for her to do since there are other more vocal players (taking full advantage of any perceived "serenity"). Since the merge she feels secure enough with her relationship with Andrea that she falls higher on the totem than others might perceive. She's remaining loyal to her other Favorites, and can creep past those that are less stable, like Dawn and Philip. She's feeling pretty confident about her game. NNNNOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!! THIS IS ALL A WELL-CRAFTED LIE. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE EDITORS WANT US TO SEE!!! Ha, just wanted to have some fun ;) Well, This is what I'm gleaning from an imaginary edit for Brenda. I didn't want to simply comment that she's being ignored, yet again, and I thought maybe it would be fun to consider how she might actually factor into the game.

Erik - Ok, I'll ignore him instead, ha. Well, he did get to claim himself the "swing vote" last episode, and that suddenly he's becoming a valuable player. Umm, not really, Erik... you certainly weren't of value this episode and there was quite a bit going on.

Eddie - we got to hear from someone that Eddie is hot. Eddie will be extremely pleased with this positive spin on his edit, ha! Yes, Eddie seemed to be in the mix a bit more this episode, but he's still sticking to basic narration and appears to be a player in someone else's game.

Reynold - a "bro-down" pitch to make it to the end! To Cochran of all people!! Good grief. Have you ever watched Survivor, Reynold. Really, I got nothing more to say (I've mentioned enough of him in the highlights from the episode anyway) He's getting lots of airtime, but he doesn't have the game to back it up. I just can't see how he could make it past the next couple of tribals.

Malcolm - as speculated with following Corinne's boot, Malcolm was front & center this episode. He was really kicking it into gear to turn the tide in his favor and we got to hear a lot of his thought process for each of his moves. But something rang true when Dawn stated: "He's not dialed in." Maybe Malcolm's been hanging out with Reynold too much, but he's getting far too lofty on his own plot developments, even when they just aren't feasible. Just like Reynold gloating about an alpha-male alliance to Cochran, how is Malcolm thinking island mom Dawn will turn on all of her previous alliance mates just to make the numbers better for her & Malcolm? Yikes, Malcolm looks like he's in big trouble. Yes, it was a notable moment a TC to have him ask for and claim Reynold's idol. He was perceptive enough to know the votes weren't going to Reynold, but he was off about the real target. Couple this with him overlooking Dawn as the snitch with Corinne, and Malcolm is clearly not playing an A-game.

Sherri - We heard more from Sherri this episode than last, but there could've been more from her about her thoughts of being targeted at the last TC. She mentioned her plan of using Philip, and she mentioned her motivation in joining Stealth R Us (since the other Fans voted for her). But we're hearing her thoughts about these people and not others who have been shown to be more in the game than her (like Cochran, Dawn, Andrea). Her story is going to have to grow beyond her resentment to the Fans and her link to Philip, otherwise she won't ever get back to the multidimensional player we saw back in the earlier episodes.

Philip - We heard, "Philip is a joke" - some clear criticism coming from Favorite Malcolm. Gosh, we still get commentary from Philip, but his stock has certainly gone down. And being referenced by Sherri as her "Shamar" Philip really needs to step up his game. Nobody likes him, people are talking negatively about him, and he is rather delusional. Only a mater of time before someone calls him an idiot, or a moron, twice ;)

Andrea - Shall we believe what Malcolm said, that "Andrea is the leader out here." Perhaps. Add this to Jeff's commentary at the IC, and we are getting telegraphed a very strong depiction of how we should perceive Andrea. We are seeing her playing the game, and she saved herself from the vote once again. Also, we've seen Andrea one-on-one at some point with everyone left in the game. We can take note that she may have more end game connections than anyone else so far.

Dawn: Once again we hear about a "new Dawn" - this time from Andrea after she had commended Dawn on her game-play lying to Malcolm. Dawn got a great showing this episode, just like last - even though we can see that her game-play could possibly go haywire if she's the one who continually snitches, and blamed for determining the boot (Who will vote for her then if she makes it to the end?!) But as emotional as Dawn is, we are hearing lots of reasonable quotes from her as well. Viewers had to question what Malcolm was thinking when he went to her to flip, and sure enough, we hear Dawn voice this reason. We're finally seeing Dawn make moves separate from Cochran too - which can be a good closing argument. But who are we being told has a better chance at winning this season: Someone who is keeping calm? or someone who is making big decisions?

Cochran - The David and Goliath theme continued at the reward when Cochran shared his thoughts about any fancying of "tomfoolery" Juxtaposing him against Reynold made it even easier for viewers to side with Cochran to pull through with his intentions. Once again Cochran was observing the game and being alert and aware. Due to the reward, we didn't see where his participation in the chain of information and decision making back at camp (like we did with Corinne's boot), although we can deduce that he was privy to it when he got back. He's done the best of sharing information and being part of the decisions while having the least blood on his hands and least focus put on him as to who's to blame for elimination. When Andrea went to him about this TC's vote, we saw Cochran respond calmly and obediently. He's always somewhere in the middle of the information chain and he lets the others make the decision (or appear like they're making the decision) Which is a good tone to set among his allies, as well as smart strategy to defer any hard feelings when explaining the maneuvers to a jury.

The only slight glitch for Cochran this episode was that he said he was annoyed with Andrea switching up "the smartest aggressive move to vote off Malcolm." While he was right to note Andrea's power-playing, he was incorrect about the potential of the wrong move to actual happen. As we saw at TC, it would've been the wrong move for his alliance if they hadn't switched to the less aggressive play. So Andrea was right, and inadvertently due to his comment (although not his action) even Cochran is shown messing up a bit. Still, it wasn't really highlighted, and the rest of the episode continued to paint a likeable picture for Cochran to be on the winning side of things.

-- aaron

edited for too many typos

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

04-13-13, 05:50 PM (EST)
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65. "Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
Hello Aaron, I'll be sure to read your point of view after posting my thoughts.

The recap started with the merge: Big moves were on everyone’s mind but Malcolm and Corinne were putting their’s into action.
Corinne: “Let’s take Sherri out first and then we can take out Phillip. He’s the head of this whole non-sense. As long as Phillip goes, that whole organization will crumble.”
With plans to break up Stealth-R-Us, they formed a counter alliance made up of Fans and Favorites.

After Cochran ate up the competition at the first immunity challenge, Sherri was the target of the entire tribe…
<Sherri was shown swimming in the ocean, apparently with no worries in the world>
…but when Dawn caught wind of Corinne’s secret alliance with the Fans, Stealth-R-Us had to decide between an easy target or a big move.
Andrea: “If she can pull all these people then we’re all screwed.”

At Tribal Council, they pulled off the biggest move of the season, voting off a member of their alliance in a shocking blindside.
<The recap ended with a smiling Sherri>

As expected, Dawn wasn’t credited for arranging Corinne’s blindside even if she was the major force behind it. Here, her role was only to relay information and Stealth-R-Us, which Corinne said was headed by Phillip, decided on a big move and THEY pulled it off! That tells me that Dawn’s chances of winning took a big hit. The biggest move of the season would have been credited to her if she was a winner. In fact, the camera gave more credit to Phillip, Andrea and Cochran, showing them right after Jeff said the words “shocking blindside”.

The theme of this episode was:


Merged tribe – Day 23

Baby monkeys were up, tending to their chores.
In the shelter, Phillip, Andrea, Sherri and Dawn were relaxing.
While Malcolm worried, Phillip was heard saying: “We are going to do it because we know that we are solid with our numbers.”
Reynold made fire and we heard the start of his confessional.
Then to Eddie, he said: “Every girl that associates with us gets voted out.”
The camera showed Andrea in her bikini at that moment.
Reynold went on: “Who is the next victim?”
Reynold’s confessional continued here.

Reynold (solo): “At last night’s tribal Council, Corinne gets voted out and I look at last night as a victory. Even though we had this counter alliance forming and Corinne was a big part of (it), at the end of the day, a Favorite goes home and it’s not me.” The end of Reynold’s confessional went like this: “I’m at the point where I have nothing to lose. I am iron-clad with my guys, with Eddie and Malcolm. They know we are unwaveringly trustful to each other. I have an idol, we’re here, we are all sitting around, I am going to play this game.”

I guess Reynold has to be satisfied with this Pyrrhic victory because he won’t be getting anything better. However, the inclusion of Andrea at this moment looks like a bad omen for her. Recalling the season’s intro, Andrea’s mistake was flirting and not only will she be doing a lot of that but she is also the one the camera looked for when Reynold talked about the curse they bring to the women that associate with them. Andrea, I feel will be the next Favorite voted out. More on that later.

In the shelter, we heard Reynold asking Andrea what was her game strategy.
She coyly answered: “I’m playing it day by day.”
Asked about his strategy, Reynold replied that he was just opening the door.
That made Andrea giggle.
Malcolm was close by, listening and he gave a confessional

Malcolm: “With Corinne out of the game, I lost my closest ally. Flip side of that is that I am the only one who knows about my idol. I still have the only idol that nobody knows about in this game. I think I still got the Fans; Mike, Eddie and Reynold will still go along with anything I say. I took a hit last night but I am still alive. They thought they cut off the head of the snake, they thought they killed the rebel leader I guess. They don’t know they missed yet.”

Two things stand out in Malcolm’s confessional: He was proven right to say that Reynold would go along with anything he says but the alliance would realize that the rebel leader was still alive sooner than Malcolm expected.

The next scene started with a snake apparently going for a baby monkey but the monkey jumped out of reach.

Phillip was flirting with Sherri.
“The first time I saw you on the beach was like: Damn, she’s hot!”
Sherri wanted to know if Michael had talked to Phillip.
The answer was clear: “No. He knows it’s over. It’s going to be sweet revenge when the boys who thought they could trample you... Treat mama improperly and now look what happens.”
Phillip talked in confessional while the camera showed Reynold, Eddie and Michael.
Phillip then gave Sherri her nick-name: Tenacity.
Sherri seemed to like that.
Phillip added: “You must be loyal and absolutely trustworthy. Are you prepared to do that?”
Sherri: “Absolutely.”
They shook hands while Malcolm and Brenda looked on.
Sherri’s confessional was heard at this point.
Phillip then presented Serenity (Brenda) and the Enforcer (Malcolm).
Phillip whispered: “I have no intentions of voting you (Sherri) out of this game.”

Phillip’s earlier confessional: “Each one of the Fans needs to realize that if you don’t do what we ask you to, you will go home. Sherri is with us in terms of where her voting will be and so Mike will go home.”

Sherri’s own confessional: “Besides the game of Survivor, I have another game to play: I have to play the Specialist’s game. There’s fake organizations, there’s secret alliances. It’s all crazy out here. I’m wholeheartedly in with the Favorites and I am great with big personalities. I had no problem with Shamar, I could handle Shamar. Phillip is my Shamar on this tribe. You give me two more votes and I’ll be calling shots with Phillip and he will be coming to me, asking me what I think and what’s my plan.”

That’s a much more interesting confessional from Sherri than what we had heard since the swap. We will be holding her to it though: Will she be calling the shots after next week’s vote? We know she should be there because Phillip just gave her a story to last until the end of the game but will she be the one making the decisions? Let’s say we have serious doubts, especially after seeing her shown swimming in the ocean during the recap, oblivious to the lurking dangers.
As for Malcolm, we thought he wouldn’t have a chance to get back in the alliance after last week but he was still Phill’s Enforcer. Was Phillip just humoring him?! That would be a first! It usually works the other way around but who knows?!

The Challenge.

Jeff did talk about a Pick ‘em but the line-ups made it look as if once more production wanted to give the guys a chance to form an alliance against the women.
The pick’em could have given this line-up if they designated a male and a female captain, say Reynold and Dawn for example and then let the guy pick first.
Reynold would most likely pick Eddie.
Dawn would pick Malcolm.
Reynold then takes Erik and his team his loaded, Dawn having only Phillip, Michael and Cochran to pick from the guys.
As is, the teams were once more very unfairly divided. No one picked Sherri and she had no chance for reward.
(I like that Survivor has gotten cheap in regard to this. Picking a team to cheer was a lame idea. It also tells us who makes a good goat.)

Purple team was the one that shot first and they also had last shot. They won but it looked like they had one extra shot. Was Orange denied a chance to tie or did they miss and the shot was simply dropped from the show? It’s another challenge oddity.

Phillip did his best to distract Eddie and it worked because the ball ended up directly in Malcolm’s hands, the only save we would see.
Brenda showed great form when she lobbed Michael.
Erik and Andrea showed it was pretty easy to score even if Reynold failed miserably.
Dawn just missed so that gave Cochran (who was on a tear in challenges according to Jeff) an opportunity to tie it.
Once more, Cochran’s celebration seemed important to show. We had only seen Brenda laughing as she got up the ladder, Erik’s fist pump in the water and nothing of Andrea’s celebration but we heard Cochran’s victory scream and we followed him all the way up the ladder, saw him passing by a smiling Jeff and high fiving Reynold.
Phillip used the soccer player’s stutter step to trick the goalie and he scored.
Eddie made amends on his second attempt.
Even if she looked confident, Brenda just missed, hitting the horizontal bar.
Erik won it for Purple which meant Michael finally got a reward.

Even if it was Michael’s first time and it was going to be his final episode, the reward was all about Cochran.
(I must say that neglecting Michael during his last episode made me wonder if he was really going in the end. A nice change for once.)

Looking over the falls, Cochran talked about the experience: “There’s this brilliant water fall, 40 or so feet tall, and…I am going to have to repel down on it. This is not something I do. I rarely leave my apartment, I rarely leave twitter and the fact that I am going to be flung down some waterfall on a rope? I don’t know the mechanics of it, I have no idea what’s going on.”

Reynold also had a confessional: “I never repelled in my life but I threw caution to the wind and just tried to jump down the thing like James Bond. It actually kind of worked out well for me. I felt kind of natural.”

Cochran: “I watched my tribe mates going down but it wasn’t any consolation because I had no idea what they were doing but I am learning to embrace it. This is the same guy that was afraid to take off his shirt the last time I played Survivor. Now, I am flying down a waterfall after winning a challenge. It was fantastic! It was kind of nerve wracking, I slid on some mossy rocks and bungled the job a little bit but I loved it.”

If Cochran is indeed our winner, this could be a metaphor to his road to victory: He’ll slip along the way a little bit but he will get there.

During the picnic, talks turned to strategy and Reynold’s confessional was inserted here.
Michael pointed out that the last Fans versus Favorites was dominated by women. He added: “How cool would it be if this one was dominated by guys?”
He then told Cochran that he would have three loyal votes.
Reynold talked about the plan in the second half of his confessional.
Reynold then mentioned to the group the legendary big moves over the years, adding: “You want to be in one of them.”
Cochran said he loved Survivor’s big moments but his confessional showed he wasn’t thinking along the same line as the other guys.

Reynold’s earlier confessional: “There was this total post big win locker room guys’ mentality going on after this reward challenge.” (Including his load burp!) “It’s so simple and it’s pure. Everything’s got so complicated out here, I think it was a great reprieve for all of us.” He then added: “The pitch to Cochran was: Let’s take the muscle to the end. Let’s do this all-guys’ alliance, let’s “bro” down, let’s get these scheming, crazy girls that keep flirting with all of us out of here and let’s just take the strong guys to the end.”

We haven’t seen anyone flirting with Reynold since Allie left so is he being overly optimistic again or are there scenes we’ve been missing? The impression is that Reynold is deluding himself again.

Cochran: “Reynold, Eddie and Michael must not know me that well if they think that emphasizing the testosterone unity between us; “we’re men! and we hate women! And we are going to slab each other with towels in the locker room and we are going to chug beers!” That doesn’t work with me. It doesn’t appeal to me at all. I am not going to be exchanging in any masculine tomfoolery with these numbskulls!”

Camp – Day 23

Malcolm in confessional: “We lose the reward, I saw it coming a mile away, got over it pretty quickly because, while I didn’t get to go on a reward, I was with the people I needed to be around. I need numbers and it’s easiest to scoop the people on the bottom and Sherri and Dawn seem like the most likely candidates to me.”

His choice is rather questionable since he voted against Sherri and he knew Dawn was in the core 6. Wouldn’t Brenda have been a better choice? Like everyone else, it seems that Malcolm forgets that Brenda exists!

Malcolm made his pitch to Sherri first: “Best case, it’s 8 and 7 for us…If we do it, we don’t leave before 4 and 5. If they think we are in on it, they will split the vote… and then we are guaranteed final 5 instead of best case 7th.”
He delivered another confessional: “The Favorites think they have 8 people, they think it’s the 7 remaining favorites and they’ve brought in Sherri for 8 against 3 which would be Mike, Reynold and Eddie. I am going to take advantage of that because, if I can pull a 5 person alliance that’s enough to take over the game.”

Malcolm then went to Dawn with basically the same pitch, adding: “If we are going to do something, it has to be now.”
Dawn wanted to know how.
Malcolm said: “There are 6 people if you are in.”
We could hear Dawn groan before saying: “You’re saying use the four Fans?”
Malcolm confirmed it: “They’re already aligned, Sherri just agreed.”
Dawn told Malcolm that she would talk to Sherri.

Dawn then gave us her thoughts: “Malcolm came to me and said: “Here’s how I want to vote, here’s who I work with and do you want to come on board?” and I’m thinking he’s going to be a problem. It would be great if I could give him the impression that I was voting with him and we could all just take him out.”

If this season played out like Survivor China where a main theme was: “You have to know your neighbor’s motive before entering in an alliance with him”, we could say that Dawn was going to win like Todd: Everyone goes to her for an alliance. Unfortunately, the themes of this story are slightly different and we are looking for the one making decisions, not the one getting information.

Malcolm (solo): “The Favorites think they have 8 people, they think it’s the 7 remaining favorites and they’ve brought in Sherri for 8 against 3 which would be Mike, Reynold and Eddie. I am going to take advantage of that because, if I can pull a 5 person alliance that’s enough to take over the game.”
We saw Sherri, Andrea, Dawn and Phillip discussing the events.

We joined in as Sherri said that Malcolm approached her and that he had 4 people. She said Malcolm’s plan was to let the Favorites split the votes between Eddie and Reynold.”
Dawn confirmed: “He is trying to flip it.”
That made Andrea smile.
Andrea said that they should let Malcolm think that his amazing plan was working while adding: “We just vote Malcolm out.”

Phillip had the confessional to explain the alliance’s position: “Malcolm is trying to play double-duty, he’s trying to play me as if he is still a member of the core alliance. Me! the Specialist! He’s going to think that we are voting for Reynolds and Eddie when, in fact, we are going to be voting for him.”

As soon as Malcolm came back to the shelter, Phillip set the reverse trap in motion: “We are going to do a split…”

Day 25

Eddie joined Andrea in a cove.

Andrea (solo): “The days that we have nothing to do, it’s kinda nice to get away and I felt like I was a little kid sneaking out of my parents’ house again when Eddie and I went to the lagoon. Eddie is really hot so, I don’t know, maybe we’re dating! Is this island dating? I’m not sure. The more I play out this possible Eddie relationship, the more likely he is to vote for me in the end or give me information.”

As they sat close to each other, Eddie said he’d do anything to stay except vote for Reynold.
Andrea wanted him to promise that he would vote the way she wanted.

The music got romantic. Andrea looked and sounded the part of the giggling school girl that has a crush on the football player. She went so far as to ask him if he would vote against Malcolm.

Eddie (solo): “What’s troubling to me is that I don’t think Andrea wants to vote me out. I think she wants to keep me here, she likes me and I think that she really wants to drag me along in this game and I just need to be dragged two or three more votes before I can get up on my own feet and start punching people.”

Andrea asked Eddie if he knew anything about idols.
He lied: “No.”
Andrea asked if he could continue giving her information and she’d guarantee the next vote wouldn’t be against him. Then they’d work vote to vote.

Andrea had another confessional: “I don’t know who goes out here and actually falls for someone. It’s really rare. Normally, there’s an element of you’re playing somebody. So, I know I am definitely playing Eddie but I’m trying to see if he is playing me.”

Well, he is. It seems that once again Jeff will be able to say that Andrea threw her game away by flirting. Yes, it worked for Amber and it kind of worked for Jaime Dugan but really? There are reunions parties for that stuff! After Malcolm in the previous scene, now Andrea looked foolish. There was a good reason why Rob imposed his buddy system and Andrea should have known better.

The Challenge.

Phillip had no special skills under water so he was the first to quit the challenge. He was soon followed by Sherri, Erik, Dawn and Malcolm. (Erik had done reasonably well in the Micronesian version of this challenge, losing only to Jason and Ozzy if memory serves, so I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys threw this challenge) Michael was next and soon Eddie, Cochran and Reynold followed. There were only two women left which pleased Dawn and Sherri.
It was a good fight, both girls remaining calm even if they were almost entirely submerged. In the end, Brenda prevailed and was so focused that Jeff was forced to send people to let her know.

Back in camp, the players congratulated Brenda but even that dramatic win wasn’t enough to earn a confessional. We went to strategy discussion almost immediately.

Malcolm’s confessional: “This next vote has to be the turning point in the game that I have been waiting for. It’s the last time that I definitely can have the numbers on my side. I can’t wait any longer: Reynold, Eddie and Mike are going to be gone. They are easy pickings for votes right now. The Favorites have to be 100% convinced that I am with them or else they are not going to split the votes. So, I’ve been sitting on the bottom for 25 days but I am finally going to make my move to get on top.”

Andrea and Dawn were then seen fooling Malcolm into thinking the split vote was a done deal: “It’s four girls on Reynold, four guys on Eddie and we get Reynold” was the way Andrea presented the plan to Malcolm.

Malcolm’s confessional continued: “Andrea, she is the one calling the shots, I need to make sure she thinks I’m on board with her plan. By her trusting me with that plan, that means she doesn’t suspect what’s going on, what I have up my sleeve..”

Andrea’s confessional proved him wrong: “Malcolm’s a good liar! It was funny, you know because I am lying to him, he’s lying to me. The whole dynamic of it is pretty hilarious. Now, he’s trying to pull Dawn over and Dawn is really working it. Dawn is the MVP. I don’t where this new Dawn is coming from. She’s good at this.”

Malcolm told Dawn he was voting against Andrea while we heard another confessional: “Andrea is the leader. As much as Phillip has bluster and as much as these guys are upset with him, he’s not actually running things. He’s kind of a joke and when you are trying to stir the pot, to incite a rebellion, you don’t try to kill the prince, you kill the person who is actually running the show which is Andrea.”

Malcolm continued working Dawn saying it was their only chance and revealing the secret about Reynold’s idol.
Dawn wanted proof: “If you show me the idol, then I will do it.”

Dawn had a very revealing confessional: “It’s nuts! The fact that I am coming back after Corinne’s vote and Malcolm is still trusting me when I am the person that gave the information on Corinne tells me that he’s not dialed in.”

Indeed, Malcolm immediately went to Reynold telling him he had to show Dawn is idol…and Reynold agreed! He didn’t even question Dawn’s trustworthiness. It only mattered that Malcolm had a plan to counter the split votes and Reynold was jumping in.
Even if the Specialist was watching, Reynold found a moment to show the idol to Dawn.
Reynold threatened Dawn: “Don’t screw me. If I have reason to doubt you, I am going to play it for myself.”

Dawn gave us another great confessional: “I can’t stand people that intimidate other people and I think Reynold is used to being in control and getting what he wants but he did show me the idol which is huge. Now I have more information on how to vote and what to do but he looked over and said: If you burn me, you’ll have hell to pay. I feel like: Shame on you. Shouldn’t have shown me your idol. Shame on you, Malcolm; you shouldn’t have brought me in.”

Eddie wanted to go talk to Andrea but Reynold warned him: “She just changes her mind every five minutes. You are going to fall into a trap with her. Let’s just get her out of here and then Cochran will warm up to us and we’ll just “bro” down to the end.

After a quick shot of a tarsier, we saw Eddie with Andrea.
Eddie asked: “If you are splitting for me and Reynold, one of us is going home.”
Andrea tried to get out of it: “I am not working with Reynold, I am working with you…I’m just saying it’s not you.”
Eddie didn’t get it.
Andrea said she couldn’t tell who to vote for but that he wasn’t going home.
Eddie asked: “Is it Mike or Malcolm.”
Andrea tried to deny: “It’s not Malcolm.”
Eddie wanted to be sure it wasn’t Reynold.
Andrea could simply ask him to trust her.
Eddie said: “If Reynold plays an idol tonight, I am going home.”
Andrea: “Is he going to play an idol?”
Eddie: “I don’t know.”
Andrea: “Does he have an idol.”
Eddie: “Somebody here does,”
Andrea: “You said you knew he didn’t have an idol.”
Eddie: “I don’t know anymore.”
Andrea: “Malcolm could betray me…it could be me.”
Eddie: “It could be you…It’s been talked about.”
Andrea: “Me?”
Eddie: “Yes.”

Andrea had a teary-eyed confessional: “I’m going home tonight. Malcolm’s targeting me and there are idols and I need to come up with a way to change everything up.”

She then went to Cochran saying she was going home that night so that they had to go the safe way and vote against Michael.
Cochran said that since she was in danger he was fine doing Michael.

In confessional, Cochran gave us his real thoughts: “Frankly, I was a little bit turned off that Andrea was so willing to abandon was the smartest, aggressive move and taking out Malcolm tonight. She’s completely changed her mind and now suddenly, we have to go for the safe vote which would be we vote out Michael because Michael, unlike anybody else, has proven, time and time again at Tribal Council, not to have an idol.”

Andrea went around her allies going next to Phillip who still liked Malcolm. Next was Dawn who said that all her work would be going down the drain.

Already, we could see the emotional stress on her. It isn’t hard to imagine that Malcolm will blame her severely for this betrayal and that is what will cause the breakdown seen in the previews. It’s one thing to betray someone and send him home, it’s much harder to betray someone and have to live with him in the same shelter for 3 more days.

Dawn went on: “I promise you, Malcolm doesn’t have the idol. This is our chance to take Malcolm out. We could have just done it. Eddie got involved and he made you feel like you were going home and I’m telling you he wasn’t in charge of that vote, it was happening. My whole game is messed out.”
Andrea started changing her mind again.
Dawn stressed the point that it was ridiculous to keep three strong guys in the game: “The three guys don’t have immunity tonight, we’ve got one idol and we’re thinking Michael.”
Andrea said she could change it again but we were off to Tribal Council.

Jeff asked Michael if Corinne’s elimination gave him hope.
Michael said he was shocked but it what he was hoping would happen, that the Favorites would see each other as threats. He added: “Unfortunately, they didn’t use me for that vote but they can use me for other votes.”
(They will do so very soon but not the way you wanted)
For some reason, Erik felt the need to pick a bug out of Andrea’s hair and told Jeff about it.
(Maybe he subscribes to the Fly theory!!! If so, he was telling us that Andrea can’t win!)
Phillip explained what was going on at camp through his strategy of Stealth-R-Us which seemed to pain Cochran.
(Viewers felt the same pain, John.)
The kooky music is rarely heard during TC but this was too good to pass up.
Andrea, Brenda and Erik were shown smiling in agreement at Phillip’s ramblings.
He told Jeff that they had a new member, a very effective double agent, Sherri who was now known as Tenacity. He added: “She has the capability of holding on in this game much further than any of the other Fans.”
When Jeff said it was only three guys, Sherri interrupted by saying they all voted for her. “Payback’s a #####” she said.
Eddie said it didn’t bother him, that he knew he was going and preferred to play his own game than being a puppet in a league of operatives.
Jeff told Reynold that even at 8 against 3, an idol could flip the game.
Reynold agreed.
Phillip jumped in: “We already know from my season is: If we think you have an idol, you will be voted for.”
When Michael pointed out that the alliance is already breaking down, Phillip needed to add: “A coalition that sticks together actually gets to the end together.”
Jeff turned to Andrea saying you can stick together but you can’t all get to the end, that someone will make a move.
Andrea said it was her problem in her season, that she was at the bottom. “I didn’t know it at the time but if you have a sense that you are at the bottom, you have an opportunity to flip…you can change the game.”
Asked about that, Phillip answered: “I expect that to happen” The camera showed Malcolm listening intently as Phillip went on: “I believe that, at this time, if someone were to operate with impunity and decide that this is the right time for whatever the reason, I think that they are going to find that they erred in their judgment because there are enough numbers left and enough smart people still here that they’ll figure that out. So, when you saw as a brave move, you are going to get flushed out. Goodbye.”
Malcolm really looked worried now but it was time to vote.

His vote against Reynold was an admission of being outwitted (“I don’t know what’s going on anymore) and he was scrambling, thinking this vote may save him if it was a split between the two.

When Jeff returned with the votes and asked the players if they wanted to play an idol, Reynold stood up and took out his idol.
Malcolm stopped him, saying that the votes weren’t against Reynold but against himself. He pleaded for his ally’s idol: “They all voted for me, you can tell.”
Reynold handed it over.
The first three votes to Andrea brought a smile to Eddie’s face.
The first vote against Michael had Malcolm scratching his head. Defeat was on his face when the third was announced. Even Reynold bowed his head (waiting for the ricochet) when it became obvious Michael was leaving.
When Jeff said the tribe had spoken, Andrea, Cochran and Erik were on screen.
Michael left calling them turkeys but it didn’t stop Sherri’s smile.

Jeff left them saying that they were savvy players and that the only thing they could rely on was their gut.

The Story

This week, we saw many players making mistakes. Andrea forgot the dangers of getting close to an opponent and almost got herself voted out. With Malcolm targeting her and everyone now convinced he doesn’t have the other idol, it seems very possible that Andrea gets voted out next by Malcolm’s idol. She would be the next victim of the curse on the women that associate with Reynold and Eddie. We saw the foolishness of the men during the reward, thinking they could persuade Cochran to follow them and then we had Malcolm who was outwitted during the Tribal Council. It’s an indication that we have to look at the players that kept their focus. We didn’t have many.

The Characters –

The Fools:

Sherri: Why did she let the Fans know that she was looking for payback? Maybe she let her new nick-name get to her head but she was in on Malcolm’s plan to boot Andrea so she could have played it more wisely. She’ll need votes if she does make it to the end so telling Michael she was looking for revenge wasn’t the best thing to do. Still, we will take Phillip’s words as an omen and say that Sherri will make it further than any of the other Fans.

Reynold: Like I wrote above, the way he was happy after what had to be a Pyrrhic victory shows that the game is tough on Reynold. It didn’t get better during Tribal Council where Malcolm voted against him in case of a tie vote and then “stole” his idol. Reynold did give us something new to look at though when he talked about the curse they have for the women that associate with them.

Andrea: Since we were told her mistake during Redemption Island was to flirt, every giggle we heard was like a warning of what would soon happen to her. She’ll probably think it’s safe to vote against Malcolm but his idol should still be aimed at her since he thinks she’s the one that holds the alliance together. The curse of Reynold and Eddie should continue.

Malcolm: Many saw Malcolm as a genius in this episode but he made many mistakes for the long run. Like dawn said it was nuts for him to trust her after Corinne;s boot. He thought his cover wasn’t blown but hers was even better! He should have known that Dawn was nicely positioned within the alliance and that Sherri wouldn’t be receptive to a group that targeted her last time. If his plan had remained secret, then he really only needed 1 vote. From what we saw, he never approached Brenda. And, while his move at TC was great to see, he showed everyone just how close he was to Reynold and he will have to explain his own idol when he eventually plays it. His vote against Reynold and his panicked expression showed that Phillip had completely rattled him with his speech. Malcolm wasn’t expecting to be discovered so soon so one has to wonder if he even brought his idol to TC. Like Dawn said: Malcolm is not dialed in. His only hope is the idol that he kept secret to everyone and even that could turn against him if Reynold starts wondering why Malcolm used his instead of the one he had.

Eddie: I’ll give him credit for wooing Andrea and getting valuable information from her but he’s been a fool from the start so we’ll keep him here. We never saw what he did with Andrea’s information so maybe he did keep some information to himself, something that would have been useful for his alliance.

Phillip was the first to talk about sending Mike home. He was quite firm on that as he spoke to Sherri. So, in a roundabout way, he got his target. We have often seen Phillip trying to get into his opponent’s head during challenges and it worked very well during TC. His speech rattled Malcolm and now the fog has lifted and the lines are clearly drawn. Phillip was voting against Michael so he had to talk to Andrea after she had talked to Dawn and the decision had to be made to trust Andrea's gut over Dawn's but to get rid of Malcolm's idol if he had one. They did flush an idol but one remains.

The Non-Factors:

Erik and Brenda: He scored the winning goal in the RC. She had a dramatic win in the IC. Both could be seen at the bottom of the alliance and there were many discussions about the play of those at the bottom. Yet neither had one of their confessionals make it on air. There are still no hints about what will be their downfall but we suspect they will fall as quietly as they played.

The Focused Players –

Dawn: Once more the fulcrum of all strategy discussion, Dawn was really the MVP like Andrea said but we did hear her say that Reynold would extract pay back, that there will be hell to pay, if she burned him and did she ever burn him. It’s important that Dawn’s words about revenge were included because Reynold never actually went that far. He only said “Don’t screw me. If I have reason to doubt you, I am going to play it for myself.” There was no direct threat in what we heard from him but the editors decided that we needed to know there was a threat. It’s inclusion means it should come up during Reynold’s final Tribal Council question where he can make Dawn pay a big price for her deception.

Cochran: It’s interesting to see that Reynold and Eddie think they could get Cochran on their side. Since the story is telling us that the three big guys will fall then we can look at the players that could face Cochran in the Finals:
Sherri isn’t liked by anyone and by showing her bitterness towards the Fans, they won’t have a problem voting against her at the end.
Phillip isn’t taken seriously by anyone.
Brenda and Erik aren’t even playing the game.
Dawn has betrayed everyone.
Andrea would be the only jury threat but she seems to be on the way out.

Just looking at the care given to Cochran when he scored a single goal during the reward tells us that Cochran is the player we are encouraged to root for. Cochran should be the Sole Survivor.

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puzzled11 13 desperate attention whore postings
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04-13-13, 09:16 PM (EST)
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66. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
"We haven’t seen anyone flirting with Reynold since Allie left so is he being overly optimistic again or are there scenes we’ve been missing? The impression is that Reynold is deluding himself again."

He was shown flirting with Andrea on the coffee reward. That was also an early flag that Andrea wouldn't be able to overcome her previous mistakes.

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04-14-13, 02:52 AM (EST)
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68. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
You're right. I even noted it but then forgot about it...almost as quickly as Andrea forgot about him and went after Eddie!
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04-13-13, 09:59 PM (EST)
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67. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
Many saw Malcolm as a genius in this episode but he made many mistakes for the long run.

All I said was one move was a genius move for a particular purpose. No need to rewrite history.

Of course he's got his work cut out for him going forward.

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04-14-13, 09:03 AM (EST)
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69. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
I think Malcolm's move at TC was genius... He identified the threat against him (correctly), voted against Reynold in case of a tie, and swayed someone to give him an idol. I think his earlier miscalculations (trusting Dawn, miscounting votes, misidentifying the low-men on totem pole) outweigh his genius though.

Or he was lucky.

Likewise, Andrea is more genius than fool. She swayed the vote to Michael, got Eddie to trust her, and was shown thinking about jury votes at the end. Malcolm, Cochran, and Sherri were shown to be working against the jury (lying, feigning an alliance, and spitting bitterness, respectively)

If the clues weren't spelled out so clearly that she was leaving next, I'd say Andrea would have an excellent chance at winning. Her head is in the game. She's much more involved than Cochran is.

If Cochran wins, it won't be a feel-good story, despite his eating IC. It'll be because Andrea isn't there, and Cochran hasn't ticked anyone off. But I'm oddly fine with that.

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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04-14-13, 10:59 AM (EST)
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70. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
"If the clues weren't spelled out so clearly that she was leaving next, I'd say Andrea would have an excellent chance at winning."

That's a little contradictory, wouldn't you say?! Those clues come from her involvement with Eddie and if Andrea never talks to Eddie then they have Malcolm right where they want him: Blissful ignorance. If he goes, the threat to Andrea's game goes with him. This time, we will truly be able to say that Andrea threw her game away for a little island flirt with a guy that wasn't even interested. That's foolish.

Malcolm panicked and didn't understand he was being bluffed. Sooner or later, Reynold should find out that Malcolm had an idol and then the whole tribe will be against him.

Phillip was baiting Malcolm and he fell for it. His vote for Reynold tells us that he was trying to break a possible tie between himself and his "ally". That's why he couldn't let Reynold play an idol. That was simply survival instinct and while he presented it smartly, it still needed Reynold to be dumb enough to swallow it. What would he have done if Reynold had said: "Sorry buddy but I have to save myself first?"

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04-16-13, 08:52 AM (EST)
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71. "RE: Episode 9 - Tomfoolery "
Hmm... I might have written it as a contradiction, but I meant it as Andrea being in control of a lot of things that happened (controlling Philip, switching the votes, gathering intel from Sherri, working Eddie, making the jury "like" her). The clues to her demise are more situated in the intro she received, and the Reynold observation that women near them are knocked out... that she's a flirt, and that it won't win her the game. I don't think it's related to the flirtation itself.

I don't think we can say that if Eddie & Andrea hadn't talked, that Malcolm would have been unaware. Andrea got everyone to switch the vote, but Malcolm made his TC play after the Philip speech. If Andrea hadn't talked to Eddie, Philip might have (would have probably) still made the speech, tipping Malcolm off, Malcolm would have swiped Reynold's idol, and either Andrea would be going home.


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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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04-20-13, 02:57 PM (EST)
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72. "Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
Jeff reminded us that, although Stealth-R-Us have been in control of the game, they are far from a well-oiled machine. Dawn has struggled to control her emotions, Andrea has been courting the enemy and Phillip’s leadership style has worn thin amongst his rivals and allies. We heard Sherri saying it was all crazy.
At the immunity challenge, Brenda held on for the win and SRUs saw a chance to take out Malcolm, a former ally who was trying to destroy their alliance. After Andrea caught wind that she could be in trouble, she tried to convince her whole alliance to play it safe by voting out Michael.
At Tribal Council, Malcolm felt the heat and convinced Reynold to give up his immunity idol but he was wrong and Michael was sent home.

Jeff criticized the alliance and he wasn’t only aiming at Phillip’s idiosyncrasies. It gives the impression that it’s preferable to be distanced from that alliance. The only one that received some distance was Sherri. Still, the alliance did get their way and fooled Malcolm. Jeff presented Malcolm’s move very factually. He didn’t use any superlatives to support the “genius” aspect of the move and flatly said that Malcolm was wrong.

As Dabo suggested, Panic was a theme for the last episode and that continued in this one:

A World of Total Paranoia.

Camp – Night 25

As soon as the players returned to camp, they divided into two groups to talk about the events.
Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm, forced to stay behind, made the best of it. “Welcome to the bottom.”
Eddie: “We have nothing to be afraid of. Nobody talks behind our back because we are at the bottom.”

Malcolm (solo): “Just about everything I tried to do went wrong. I tried to bring the person who I thought was on the bottom which I thought was Dawn but Dawn wasn’t with me, Dawn was never going to be with me. If there is a silver lining, I still have an idol, I still got some power. Just a little bit. It’s not a lot but I am not going down without some fireworks.”

While Andrea and Phillip were telling everyone that the guys had no more idols, these same guys were planning on going hunting for idols in the morning. The SRUs meeting ended with everyone in a circle, holding out their hand to encourage each other. As they walked away, we had a shot of Cochran staying behind, signaling that he thought he whole thing was crazy.

By showing this, the editors now distanced Cochran from the alliance’s craziness much in the same way that Sophie was distanced from Upolu’s religious zeal.

Day 26

Cochran was talking to Phillip in the woods: “I used to think of Dawn as being a person that would be impossible to beat. That isn’t necessarily the case anymore because she’s betrayed a lot of people.”
Just as Phillip was agreeing, we heard Dawn off in the distance yelling for Brenda who ran to her. We saw Dawn crying by the pier. She explained that she lost her retainer in the pond.
Dawn: “I think they are right there but I can’t see. I won’t go to the challenge, I am not kidding. I will pull myself from the game.”
Brenda dove in and quickly found the retainer. Dawn was ecstatic: “I love you so much.” The two women hugged.

Brenda finally had a confessional., well part of one: “My heart went out to her so much and, after that incident, I am not going to turn my back on her and vice-versa.”

Cochran was finally heard talking about end game strategy. It seems his game will rest on this question: Is Dawn beatable? The fact that the editors showed Dawn’s meltdown is an indication that she is. Not only was that display of weakness shown but it was used to promote this episode and for what? It wasn’t because Malcolm and Reynold gave her a hard time for the betrayal, it was only for a retainer! The best thing to come out of that scene was that Brenda has recovered from her knee injury. She ran without a limp.

The Challenge:

Orange team had: Malcolm, Andrea, Sherri, Brenda and Eddie.
Purple team: Erik, Reynold, Dawn, Cochran and Phillip.

Malcolm had a good idea of looking for all the bags at once but he had problems finding them. Reynold, the second runner for Purple, caught up to him in the pit, used the same strategy and eventually passed him. Orange never caught up and Jeff pointed out that Sherri was extremely slow. Jeff also noted Cochran’s “big dive into the mud. That is how you do it!”
Purple got all their balls in the thing before Orange started shooting.
The camera lingered on Brenda’s disappointed expression.

The Reward.

Cochran once more had the first confessional: “Reynold, Erik, Dawn, Phillip and I walked into our reward resort…There was more food than we could possibly eat… This is the energy I need to go into challenges and continue to be the challenge monster I think I have proven myself to be.”

Dawn: :”I realized I hadn’t turned a shower head on in 26 days. Just the smell of the soap was overpowering. I needed it, I was losing my marbles. The thing that is hard to process about the game is that it makes you schizophrenic.”

Erik: “Phillip’s etiquette isn’t the best. There is a shower…but Phillip dives in the pool and gets all this mud and rice and all his horrible dirtiness into the pool. That’s pretty much what Phillip has done this whole season: He just jumps in without care for anybody else and just does things on his own. I’m really sick of Phillip being around.”

There’s not much to make from this scene except that it was a nice resort and Phillip stinks.

When we got back to camp, the sun had set and everyone was back.
That’s an indication that the players that lost reward weren’t important to show.

Dawn was unable to sleep. She gave a confessional: “I’m exhausted. I think I probably slept 2 to 4 hours in the last 3 days. My brain has not rested. I’m getting nervous how the next stage of the game is going to play out. I’m paranoid about being blindsided. Where am I in the seven and are the people I am aligned with are they really with me.” The camera showed Andrea stretching at that moment. The morning came and we saw Andrea on a chair with Malcolm close by and Dawn’s confessional continued: “Andrea has been spending most of her time with Malcolm and with Eddie. She is so assimilated with them. If Malcolm, Eddie and Reynold were able to pull someone from our 7 over they could blindside me.”

Dawn talked with Phillip and Cochran, saying that Andrea could flip and take her out. “She’s going to do it.”
Phillip told Dawn that Andrea knew better.

Phillip in confessional: “I’m saying to them that Andrea wouldn’t be the first target but I might be looking at somebody else right now: Daaaaawn! True Grit. Because she is totally a lunatic and she is losing her composure out here.”

Cochran also had a confessional: “Dawn is convinced that Andrea is going to flip and vote her, Dawn, out. How Dawn is so confident that she is the first that will be at the receiving end of this vote is baffling to me and it’s making me suspicious of Dawn quite frankly.”

Dawn flipped out again when she saw Andrea eating a coconut with Eddie and Malcolm. Dawn looked puzzled so she went to Phillip: “She’s losing it.” Phillip reassured Andrea, saying: “You didn’t do anything. She’s living in a world of total paranoia.”

Dawn talked to Cochran, saying she felt unstable. Cochran explained that it was overwhelming. Dawn started crying again.

Cochran, in confessional: “We had one who flew over the cuckoo’s nest in this game, Brandon Hantz. He’s gone. But suddenly there’s another possible hummingbird that’s zipping over the cuckoo’s nest and her name is Dawn.”

Coming right after the reward scene where Dawn looked to have calmed down, this return to camp showed that she was really unstable. It was a lot like Brandon: Sane one minute, crazy the next. We have to realize that the decisions will only get tougher from here on out to say that Dawn’s not out of the woods yet.

Day 28:

Dawn woke up, happy to have slept. She gave a confessional: “Today is day 28, the day I went home last time. After…my meltdown…I woke up today feeling like myself…The game isn’t overwhelming me and I wasn’t in control but today… I feel good about our alliance.”

Phillip called a quick meeting which led to a confessional by Cochran: “Now that Dawn has settled down, we are on the eve of another tribal council, SRUs, being led by Phillip, decided it would be good to get our ducks in a row: Who are we voting off tonight?” They agreed it should be Reynold because of his challenge strength. Cochran’s confessional continued: “We have seven people against their three. We are going to split the vote throwing 4 votes at Reynold and, just in case he does play an idol or something goofy happens, we are going to throw the other three votes to Malcolm and flush out any possible idols. I don’t mean to get too confident but my alliance has the numbers and I couldn’t be happier.”

By his tone and hand gestures, we could tell that Cochran was joking when he said that Phillip was the leader. It separates him a little more from the craziness and we see that he is using the numbers of the alliance for now. He wasn’t quite prepared for all the goofiness that would soon unfold but it really didn’t affect his game or his position.

The Challenge:

The underwater race was run in two heats.
1st heat: Reynold had “no competition”, and easily distanced Andrea who also qualified. Dawn, Cochran and Sherri also ran.
Before the 2nd heat started, we saw Phillip deciding to sit out because of an incident he had in the water.
Malcolm won the heat and Brenda qualified when Eddie, using too much mustard, failed to get his second ring on the pole. Note that Erik failed miserably in an event that should have been right up his alley.

In the finals, Reynold had a bit more competition but still won easily over the exhausted Malcolm, Andrea and Brenda. While it seemed that Brenda stopped after two rings Jeff said “everyone gave everything they had.”
(We see Brenda pausing a long time after placing her second ring, we don’t see her racing after but we see her head at the jump-in point when Reynold runs by with his last ring)

The next scene started with the image of a whale shark. (For animal imagery, Estee suggested it was Phillip: Huge mouth, tiny brain! Perfect)

Reynold (solo): “All these people are cut-throat. They want me out because I am a huge threat but I have the immunity necklace so I am going to do whatever I want. I have no respect for Phillip. When it boils down to it, he’s all talk, he’s no action. I think it’s sacrilegious to not even participate in a personal immunity challenge especially if you have lions and gorillas tattooed on your body. Come on, man!”

I didn’t know that Lions and Gorillas were known to be good swimmers and when did Survivor challenges become sacred? Phillip wasn’t going to win so why should he even bother with Jeff’s little games? The episode made it seem like Karma was involved again. That was the whole point of including that part of Reynold’s confessional. Packing the island with idols is what ended Phillip’s game, not sitting out a challenge.

Talking to Andrea, Phillip said they were still splitting the vote. It led to his confessional: “I am finally in a leadership position. I feel like I just might have a shot of getting to the Final 3 and, if these people aren’t actually bitter, I might have a shot of winning.” Phillip went on to say that they had the number to split the votes and that, with no idol, Malcolm was going bye-bye.

Was it coincidence that the camera showed Dawn approaching Phillip when he mentioned jury bitterness? I took it as a hint that Dawn will feel jury bitterness. As for Phillip, this was the obligatory “pride cometh before the fall” confessional. At least the editors waited for the last segment of the episode to tell us who was going home.

Malcolm wasn’t sitting down, ready to die; he was idol-hunting. We heard his confessional: “My head’s on the guillotine right now. The idea is; I have the idol so, no matter what, I play that thing I am not going home. But the idea is to get through this vote and still have the idol. The possibility still exists that there is another idol out there. I have a few hours and nothing else to do, no one’s ##### to kiss so maybe this dream will come through.”

Andrea finally realized that they could also look for the idol.
Dawn (solo): :After the challenge, Andrea said: “Let’s go look for the idol.” I said: Absolutely because it is time to work! I don’t know why people sit around so much at camp? There’s a million dollars!”

Phillip was the one shown sitting down, listening to Brenda saying the challenge wasn’t fun when she said that. Of course, Dawn was sitting down herself while delivering the confessional!

Everyone started looking in a very small area for the idol.

(They don’t bury idol these days and they don’t even give them a whole jungle to search.)

Andrea (solo): “All of a sudden, Malcolm reaches into a rock; finds the hidden immunity idol right in front of us. Malcolm was supposed to go home but he found the immunity idol exactly when he needed to find it. So, Eddie has to go now.”

Andrea told her alliance that nothing had changed and they were still splitting the votes.
As they left for TC, Eddie was feeling the heat: “Reynold is protected tonight because he won immunity and now Malcolm found the immunity idol so now I’m doubly screwed. My only chance to stay another day was if they decided to vote off Malcolm instead of me but now the entire camp knows he has the immunity idol. I’m going home.”

Tribal Council

Sherri was shown smiling and Dawn winking when, as first juror, Michael entered the council area.
Reynold told Jeff he needed to win that immunity.
Eddie agreed that one of them would have to win it every time but he had to stay positive.
Andrea told Jeff that everyone was looking at Eddie because Malcolm had the immunity idol.
Malcolm just took it out of his pocket and showed it to everyone.
Cochran told Jeff that Eddie wasn’t their first choice, that Reynold was. “Everybody views Reynold as a huge threat.”
Jeff told Phillip he was the first to sit out an individual immunity challenge when there were no incentives to do so.
Phillip explained his decision.
Asked about camp life, Andrea said there was “a lot of paranoia to the point where we don’t talk to Eddie, Reynold and Malcolm. I was on Gota with them and I enjoyed their company but it made a lot of people paranoid about me. I think I was even a target at one point.”
Right then, we saw Brenda looking over, doubt in her eyes.
Malcolm said it was like they had the plague or something. He added: “This is supposed to be a game so we figured we’d do something about it so tonight we are going to try to. This is the other idol that I have been hanging on to and I’m giving it to Eddie.”
Dawn was shown genuinely shocked while Jeff acted as if he was (He still didn’t quite have the famous Phil-eyebrow look though.)
That’s when panic set in!
Cochran looked like he had been given a differential equation to solve, Andrea tried to find a hole in which to hide, Dawn seemed to have trouble breathing while Eddie was beaming! Michael, representing the viewers, was loving it. Sherri got a sudden migraine.
Next, Cochran, having solved his equation, started grinning and he turned to Erik. Phillip leaned over to Brenda.
Jeff commented on those looks: “Andrea can’t even look up. This is rare when Tribal gets this crazy. Are you aware that Brenda and Dawn are talking? Cochran and Erik are whispering. Andrea’s got her hand in her face. What a shift.”
Brenda was telling Dawn that they should vote against Andrea.
Eddie told Jeff that the names of the 3 Amigos weren’t mentioned for once.
Malcolm said that for one vote, they had control.
Dawn said she was like a fainting sheep in this game: “Every day, the game changes for me.”
Malcolm then said: “Tomorrow, we will still be down 6 to 3 but we are throwing it out that the 3 of us are voting Phillip…This is supposed to be a game and it is supposed to be fun but it’s not fun anymore. Phillip is the fun sponge.”
Phillip reacted: “That is not how I play the game. He is trying to label me as something that I am not.”
Brenda was still telling Dawn to vote Andrea but Dawn replied that, with Andrea sitting right in the middle, she couldn’t “get that over there.”
Andrea said: “Even if they say they are voting for Phillip, I am still paranoid.” She was very scared of a possible double play.
Erik asked to speak: “The 3 Amigos are saying they are playing the idols but there is some bonus in keeping one idol.”
Phillip ended the paranoia by saying: “We should vote the way we said we were going to vote when we came in here. If it means for me to go home, I will go home but I rather they say they are voting me out strategically and quit trying to malign my character.”
Cochran said he was having a bipolar reaction: “The Survivor fan in me sitting at home is going; what just happened? This is the most exciting freaking Tribal Council I have ever seen. People are whispering, voting plans are changing which is extraordinarily rare at Tribal Council so this vote is going to be a gamble.”
Dawn said it would just take a few of them to vote somebody in the alliance that isn’t Phillip.

Explaining the variables facing the players, Jeff sent them to vote.
We only heard Cochran’s comment: “Whatever happens tonight, this is why I love Survivor after 13 years.”
We saw Erik voting for Fillup!

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, Eddie was the first to stand and the camera made it look like Malcolm would remain seated. It was a nice editing trick added for drama: We saw Eddie take quite a few steps towards Jeff even if he was sitting right next to Malcolm. We saw Malcolm’s head turning to his left, towards Jeff as if following Eddie and the music played on, creating a long pause. Only then did Malcolm supposedly stand up. In reality, we saw Eddie’s shadow on Malcolm’s right shoulder when he stood and the two walked almost side by side towards Jeff. There was no pause, not even an hesitation from Malcolm about keeping his idol.

As he sat down, Malcolm uttered the word bastards.
Everyone but Erik voted as they said and Michael enjoyed seeing Phillip’s torch get snuffed but I am not sure he will enjoy the next three days at Ponderosa!

Jeff asked if the three guys had changed the game enough to survive another vote. The camera showed us Cochran at that moment, suggesting he held the answer.

The Story

Starting with Getchen’s and Jerri’s final episodes, every season has featured a “shocking Tribal Council”. However, it’s rare that the episode preceding it is built around paranoia. Usually, we have one confident side and another that is resigned before they go to TC. This time, from Dawn’s meltdown all the way to the wild scrambling during TC, the episode tried to make us feel the same level of paranoia that the players faced. Similarly, an episode that featured paranoia and a shocking TC was Judd’s final episode in Guatemala. Maybe it was because we knew that Dawn’s paranoia was unfounded, that Malcolm had an idol or simply because it’s tough to take anything featuring Phillip seriously but the drama remained superficial. In Guatemala, we cared about what would happen to Danni while Judd was a real villain and it was amusing to see Stephenie throwing her game down the drain so we got much more involved in the outcome. Here? While the process was freakingly amusing, the result was more like a damp squib. We didn’t care about Eddie and he didn’t do a thing to save himself. Phillip is more like a buffoon than a villain while Malcolm had nothing to lose compared to Steph. We had a big move and a crazy Tribal Council but we already have the answer to Jeff’s question: The game hasn’t really changed.

The Characters

Some had Fun Agitating:

Reynold: From the start, we had seen Reynold as an optimist that had the arrogance to think things had to go his way because they always do. He was proven wrong at each turn so it gave us a lot of laughs at his expense. We expected that he’d get angry once he learned that Malcolm had been holding on to his own idol but, unless it was completely edited out of the montage, Reynold didn’t have a negative reaction when he saw the second idol. He was simply happy that things were turning his way for once. We have to agree with Michael’s assessment: Reynold is a generous guy who simply had it rough out there. He is still at the bottom and his obvious challenge skills make him enemy number one. He’s the one that has to win out or continue finding idols to have a chance.

Eddie: He is Reynold’s mirror image: The same but reversed: He doesn’t do a thing but the events usually turn in his favor. However, he isn’t yet the subject of a story like Eliza’s in Vanuatu. She was always targeted but survived to Final 4 and the ones wanting her out ended up paying the price. No one really targets Eddie, he just happens to be there, ready to be killed but escaping somehow. It means that he is wrong when he says that the 3 Amigos have to win out to the end because, like Cochran said, he isn’t their first choice. The last immunity challenge was a good example: For once, Eddie was doing well but he found a way to mess up. No one is afraid that he will go on a prolonged winning streak so as long as there is another exposed Amigo, Eddie will be able to keep on smiling.

Malcolm: He pulled off a really nice surprise at Tribal Council but did he really win this round? Yes, he got rid of Phillip but, like he said even BEFORE finding the second idol: “The idea is to get through this vote and still have the idol.” Both idols had to be used so Malcolm didn’t have his dream outcome. Could he have reasonably kept one like Erik suggested? Not with the way things played out but much of that was in Malcolm’s own hands. He was the one that ended the wild scrambling at Tribal Council when he announced they were voting for Phillip. The seven would have felt much more pressure without that comment and maybe then Malcolm would have been able to take the risk of keeping the idol as a bonus. Phillip forced his hand by saying he accepted his fate and the seven should vote as they had planned. The best move was for the 3 Amigos to split their votes between 3 different players and announcing it, putting stress on those three players. Malcolm had to see that move and maybe he would have if he had talked to his allies instead of improvising during TC. It’s possible that Eddie’s confessional shown during the walk to TC occurred earlier and Malcolm did talk to them to set the table but it is unlikely. Malcolm’s decision seemed improvised and it wasn’t the best move available, the one that could have turned the game. The 3 Amigos voted against a member of the alliance so the alliance didn’t eat one of its own. It should still make it an “us versus them” mentality.

Some were Agitated:

Dawn: Many still say that Jenna didn’t deserve to win Survivor Amazon because she wanted to quit, that she wanted to go home, giving her necklace to Heidi only to irritate Rob. Not many give her credit for insuring Christy’s elimination by doing so. How could viewers be satisfied if Dawn wins when she was ready to pull herself from the game after losing her retainer? Vanity has no place in Survivor. The editors usually show a winner’s moment of weakness (Tom’s drunken night, Yul’s nerdy comment about elephant feet) to humanize them to the viewers, to add dimensions to their character, but this would be going overboard. That moment of weakness would have been cut, certainly not used to promote an episode that wasn’t lacking in drama. Dawn also almost made the 3 Amigos’ day when she said they could vote together to eliminate someone that wasn’t Phillip. If the alliance had openly agreed to do that, then Malcolm and Eddie would have been able to keep the 2 immunity idols. Like Cochran said, many “used to think of Dawn as being a person that would be impossible to beat. That isn’t necessarily the case anymore…” Unless we are victims of a double-play by the editors!

Brenda: It was interesting that the dynamics between Brenda, Dawn and Andrea were finally revealed. We had assumed that Brenda was close to Andrea but she is with Dawn instead, even talking about voting against Andrea. That was a premature reaction though; Brenda acting too quickly to a new situation. Turning too early on Sash is what got Brenda eliminated the first time so maybe she repeated the same mistake here. However, Brenda has given us so few confessionals that when she said she will not turn her back on Dawn and expected the same, I think we heard that for a reason. Dawn is playing a cut-throat game when she isn’t crying so maybe she will turn on Brenda who could be another bitter juror. Of course, the other way to look at it is that the scene was included to explain why Brenda votes for Dawn in the end.

Andrea: She received the focus as Stealth-R-Us’ decision maker at the wrong time because we were told that the alliance wasn’t a well-oiled machine. The right decision was to gain some distance from Phillip’s organization, not be seen as its power broker. It put her in Malcolm’s sights and could have cost her the game but then Malcolm changed target. Still, Andrea’s flirt with the other side, being happy in the company of Eddie, Malcolm and Reynold didn’t escape notice from her own alliance and she is now on their list. The game will get dicey for Andrea, especially now that her closest ally is gone. Like Jeff said, she was so agitated by Malcolm’s move that she couldn’t look up. She has no clear road to the end.

Erik: His agitation came earlier than everyone else. We can say that only one person, Phillip, was able to agitate Erik during these 28 days. Now that he got rid of Phillip some will say that Erik will join the 3 Amigos but it was clear that Erik was part of the alliance despite Phillip’s presence. Erik didn’t like the Federal agent and that was his story since episode 1. With Phillip gone, Erik should feel even more comfortable with the others, Cochran especially since, for once, he discussed the vote with the guy sitting next to him at TC. With his aversion to strategy, it’s evident that Erik is playing to win his way to the end, emulating Ozzy still. His path to victory is easier if the other challenge monsters are gone. However, judging by his performance in the water race, he may have trouble winning anything.

Sherri: Some will argue that she wasn’t agitated because she said nothing during the scramble and they will add that Sherri’s smile at Michael when he entered the Council area connects the two. I can’t agree because she would need to have a pulse to be agitated. Her character has become meaningless since the swap and we did see that Malcolm’s move gave her a headache. With the alliance facing the elimination of one of its own, Sherri would have been the obvious choice. Her name wasn’t even mentioned so that leads us to two possible conclusions: No one actually spoke about eliminating her or the editors didn’t show them talking about it. Neither is particularly good for her winning chances. The editors love underdog stories so it seems that they would have jumped on the occasion to cast doubt on her chances but if no one talked about eliminating her it can only mean that she has become everyone’s Shamar! How ironic that would be: She was looking for her Phillip in Shamar, then she looked at Phillip as her new Shamar but she’d wind up being the Final 3 goat herself!

Cochran: Like everyone else in the alliance, Cochran showed some agitation. First when he was baffled by Dawn’s meltdown and paranoia and then when he faced the voting dilemma. In both occasions, he was shown doing what he does best: Listening and observing. We saw him taking the time to listen to Dawn’s problem, concluding rightly that Dawn was simply being crazy and not dangerous. At TC, he listened and we never heard him scrambling. We only saw him whispering to Erik and, judging by their respective votes, he was probably explaining that the best play was to stay with the original plan. With Erik voting against Phillip, Brenda and Dawn targeting Andrea and the farm girl spending so much time with the three guys, Cochran is the most loyal player left in that alliance. Quite a change!

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04-21-13, 00:26 AM (EST)
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73. "S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Hi Michel, will read your thoughts after posting mine...

Another pretty good episode! Perhaps, the best one of the season so far

I have to admit it was great to see Phillip go! I don't mean to malign Phillip, really I don't - it's just always nice to see a confessional hogger (thanks editors!) leave the game, as it will free up some airtime for us to hear from others. I stated throughout the season that it would be difficult to determine Phillip's longevity in the game - not only was he a returning player, but he was one that the editors favored. That being said, did we have clues that Phillip would be leaving? I'd say so!

Phillip did get a drop once the merge happened, and he was noticeably left out as a key player in Corinne's boot story. In my post for last episode, I stated this from the recap: "Phillip was neither shown nor mentioned specifically. Interesting how Phillip was not given any credit despite his on-going feud with Corinne." This gave us some insight to Phillip's insignificance moving forward.

I also mentioned this with regard to Phillip, which seems more telling after this eps results:
"And being referenced by Sherri as her "Shamar" Phillip really needs to step up his game. Nobody likes him, people are talking negatively about him, and he is rather delusional. Only a matter of time before someone calls him an idiot, or a moron, twice" Not only was Phillip's character "maligned" at TC (like Mike Skupin's was by Abi last season) but he got a kiss of death by Sherri in being called her "Shamar" - both Sherri's "Phillip" (Shamar) and her "Shamar" (Phillip) were soon out of the game once she referenced them as part of her plan (plans that never came to fruition). Editing-wise this was really bad for Phillip to be reduced to being called Sherri's "Shamar"

And the last fun little editing factor toward a Phillip boot was the commentary highlighted during ep 9's immunity challenge. When Phillip was shown, we heard Jeff state: "Now you're gonna be tested." And Phillip was indeed tested at TC this episode. He was faced with the choice to go with the original plan (despite knowing that Malcolm declared the votes would go toward Phillip) or he could've spoken up and rallied for someone else to go from Stealth R Us. Phillip chose to let the pieces fall where they may. I'd say he failed the test.

Now some thoughts about the remaining players:

Erik: The Silent One seeks emancipation. Although Erik wasn't integral to Phillip (Fillup!) being voted, his inclusion served to wrap up a large part of Erik's story so far. Strangely, 4 out of Erik's 6 confessionals were about Phillip. And now Phillip is gone, and so is most of what little story Erik had going for himself. Yes, Erik has been tied to the "brolliance" but we're not getting any clues of "4 amigos" emerging, or 4 musketeers, or snickers, so it's still looking like Erik will remain a non-entity for endgame. He could very well edge out the "3 amigos" in terms of longevity, but other than that there's not much further for him to go.

Brenda: Hooray! We finally get another confessional from Brenda. And it's about her allegiance to Dawn. Considering how Brenda's IC win last episode was undermined, and how this episode we saw her generously helping Dawn, the case against Brenda is about what's NOT being shown - her reflections on HER game. Seriously, unlike with most other invisible players, I think they're hiding Brenda because she is too darn likeable and she won't factor into endgame. Maybe he editors are possibly trying to assure that there's less of letdown when Brenda is not sitting at the end (or even worse - not receiving any votes if there is a final 3 and she's in it)

Eddie: The 3rd of the "amigos" but not completely forgotten. Eddie is getting a consistent, but minimal edit. At least he wasn't edited badly for messing up his IC performance, although he is clearly getting the least amount of substance out of those in his alliance. Last episode's bump in his storyline - his romance with Andrea - has disappeared. And Andrea's comment "poor little Eddie has to go now" isn't giving his future longevity much hope even though Malcolm saved him with the HII at TC.

Reynold: Champion of a well-earned IC win, as well as the MVP at the RC. Reynold continues to be our most visible fan and is proving why he was given this honor. He's articulate and charismatic, and very good at challenges. While admirable, these are all of which will keep the target on his back. But good for him for making it this far in the game. He's not attached to endgame, so we can continue to expect more narration and top challenge play, until an opening comes for them to vote him out. Which will likely happen sooner than later.

Sherri: While Sherri was spared as a possible boot choice during the scramble at TC, this wasn't a very good episode for her. Jeff commented on her going slowly at the IC, and she was neither heard in confessional or at TC. Phillip has been booted and Sherri no longer has her "Shamar" - once again we see Sherri's plans not coming to fruition. Even if she hangs on for a few more TCs, her story has dwindled to merely being the bottom player of either alliance. In other season's this kind of story might still have "legs" if the player were given an underdog spin. This is not the case for Sherri.

Malcolm: I'm glad Malcolm got a fun showing out of using his idol, and that he was a key component within a memorable TC that included double idol play and Phillip getting his torch snuffed. The editor's gave Malcolm the attention he deserves around such moments as finding another hidden immunity idol, and playing 2 idols at TC. It was a great move to watch being played and it allowed his alliance "amigos" to survive the vote (even if only for short-term gain). But we didn't get to see Malcolm do any posturing with anyone to get him further along in the game with this power that he held. Malcolm has been shown to be a savvy player, so why wasn't he trying to create some deals beyond one vote? Perhaps he was, and it landed on the editing room floor, as his attempts won't come to pass. Once again, we get the feeling that there's something lacking in Malcolm's edit. What we DID hear in confessional was Malcolm stating: "...the idea is to get through this vote and still have the idol..." Which would've been ideal for him, but didn't happen. Add this to Malcolm's proclamation during TC: "We're gonna be safe tonight, but tomorrow morning the situation is not gonna change." Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Andrea: To me, Andrea is getting the most interesting edit out of everyone. She really does have her head in the game, and we're being shown this repeatedly. She's one of the most consistently edited players this season, if not the most consistent. Could she simply be the player that seems deserving of the win, but falls short of making it to FTC? What I noticed this episode for Andrea, was the same thing I noticed in episode 2 following the TC in which she was a boot target - once again we didn't hear Andrea's reaction to this. I think it would be better for chances if we got to hear her thoughts about this, it would be a great opportunity to create some doubt around Andrea's chances of winning. Was this a missed opportunity to highlight Andrea, or is she getting enough attention having been in the mix of things? She was one of the most outspoken members of the Stealth-R-Us alliance during their rallies. And it was interesting to see her name whispered (and captioned on our screens) during the scrambling at TC.

Dawn: Dawn was highlighted during each segment of this episode. After a strong showing in the previous 2 episodes, Dawn is coming front and center since the merge. We saw the two sides of Lisa, I mean Dawn ;) - the emotionally overwhelmed castaway and the logical for-the-win player that has an understanding of the game. It's like we're seeing a repeat of Lisa's dichotomy from last season. Are they edited similarly because the season's were so close together, and this is how the editors choose to portray a player that makes it the end, but clearly won't get the votes? We'll soon see. Despite some of her crazy meltdown's Dawn is getting a lot of special treatment from the editors. While her 'lost retainer' meltdown was not a scene that we'd normally get for a winner, we are still getting more of a positive spin on Dawn (really if you think about it, she could be edited so much worse if they wanted to so so) Just like with her merge episode, we hear Dawn talk about her game-play and we are once again made aware of the parallels to her original season (and how she's advancing past her previous boot day). We saw some doubt posed for Dawn, even though it was brought on by her own paranoia, and we heard Cochran, Phillip and Andrea all sharing their thoughts about it. Lots of attention on Dawn!

Cochran: Also with lots of attention, but much more subdued, we have Cochran. From him miming the 'cuckoo' hand gesture after a Stealth-R-Us group rally, to then responding to Jeff at TC about his "bipolar" response due to feeling like a player/viewer - Cochran is holding onto to the role of Favorite/Fan. We continue to see Cochran playing calm, cool, and collected. If Dawn is this season's Lisa, Cochran is filling in for Denise's style (well, that was until Abi finally rattled her). We continue to see him in one on one discussions with the players, cultivating relationships and appearing non-threatening. Cochran is talking more strategy than Denise to other players, but he is clearly pulling back and doing a great job in having them share. A key scene was at the start of the episode when he was talking with Phillip, and we hear Cochran say that he used to think of Dawn as "a person that would be impossible to beat" and how it isn't necessarily the case anymore. Which is right on par with what viewers are likely thinking about Dawn's chances of winning as well. This links them both to a possible seat at the FTC. As the episode ended with Phillip being booted, Cochran will have to further reconsider who will sit beside him at the end. So far, with how things are playing out, he'll not only be able to remain loyal to Dawn, but he won't even have to throw her under the bus, she's doing the damage herself, right?! Or is there enough time left in the game for her to turn things around and pull the win from Cochran.

One last thought: Now that Phillip was voted out, that makes the past 5 bootees all from the nuBikal tribe. Dawn and Cochran are all that's left of their tribe since the tribal swap! 7 out of the 9 remaining players are from nuGota. Having no mention of this seems a bit odd. Right, they were the stronger tribe leading pre-merge and now they've survived the first 3 votes since the merge, even if they weren't actually a cohesive unit anymore, not alluding to this seems very telling. Could it be that a nuGota castaway will NOT win this season. As if we didn't have enough reasons to think that Dawn and Cochran have the best chances for endgame, we now have this subtle little factor to add to their cases as to who will be sitting at FTC.

-- aaron

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suzzee 4956 desperate attention whore postings
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04-21-13, 09:20 AM (EST)
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78. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Could it be that a nuGota castaway will NOT win this season. As if we didn't have enough reasons to think that Dawn and Cochran have the best chances for endgame, we now have this subtle little factor to add to their cases as to who will be sitting at FTC.4

It seems the whole season has been showing the favorites out gunning the fans and the edit Cochran has been given is showing him to be the best of both. Especially since his line from TC about this being the best TC he ever saw put's him in a solid position both in Jiffy's eyes and for end game.

Aaron, I enjoy your take on the episodes this season. Nicely done .

I should be watched....closely.

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04-22-13, 03:14 AM (EST)
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80. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Thanks, Suzzee!

Yes, Cochran sure is getting a great edit this season. He's clearly playing an excellent game and he's getting rewarded for it!

-- aaron

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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04-22-13, 10:11 AM (EST)
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81. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Interesting read, Aaron. I am particularly interested by your point about NuGota remaining intact since the merge. NuBikal had been the tribe of interest before the merge and the action is still inside that group with an assist from Andrea and Malcolm. We should start witnessing the massacre of NuGota.

I'd like to know your opinion on something: Did Malcolm improvise at TC as it was shown or did he talk to his allies beforehand? Did Eddie know he was getting an idol? Did they plan on voting for Phillip and announcing it? Those would be good interview questions for the first booted Amigo but what do you think? Myself, I think Malcolm improvised it all.

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04-22-13, 11:01 AM (EST)
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82. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
My thoughts would be that it was totally improvised. Malcolm seems to have am agile mind and the ability to adapt quickly. Last season he was able to think quickly on his feet and adapt when Lisa found his HII. It would also be an expected skill of someone who, as Malcolm confessed, "has a lot of e/perience lying to women."
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04-22-13, 10:30 PM (EST)
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84. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Hi Chemig!

I agree, Malcolm does seem to have an agile mind and the ability to adapt quickly. The thing is he wasn't adapting to the situation at TC, he was already aware of what was going to go down before TC. Knowing that the votes would likely be split by the majority (who were off deliberating) between him & Eddie, once Reynold won the IC. I'm thinking Malcolm's agile (and strategic & clinical) mind went into gear once the other hidden idol was found, and he let his "amigos" in on the plan. At least that's what I'm gathering - it will be fun to keep a lookout for any further possibilities of this in exit interviews or Ponderosa vids

-- aaron

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AaronLittleton 123 desperate attention whore postings
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04-22-13, 10:16 PM (EST)
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83. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Thanks, Michel!

Yes, it is definitely time for nuGota to be getting targeted now. While they weren't a tribe for very long, they were mentioned in those 2 episodes as the stronger tribe. Seeing how 3 nuBikal members have gone since the merge, why have we not heard any spin that this strong tribe continued. It's likely because their reign will end. Instead production used the short-lived storyline of the brolliance (I say short-lived, because it's really looking like one of the "amigos" is next). That storyline also matched up nicely juxtaposed against the anti-alpha male Cochran (who ain't having any of that tomfoolery - and wisely at that)

As for Malcolm improvising at TC - I say no. While I think Malcolm could have easily had the skill and finesse to improvise with this, I don't think he did. Here are my reason's why:

- In one of Michael's interview, he shared about last episode's TC, stating that the major alliance was indeed aware that Dawn confessed about Reynold's idol prior to TC. This was not revealed to us in scenes or at the TC. So, this is a very recent example of how the editors left out a key contributing factor to what went down, yet we still had a very interesting TC (that still made sense to the viewers)

- In this episode, we also had the scene when the 7 in the majority alliance were on the beach reviewing their voting plan before heading over to TC (when Andrea and Dawn shared that they witnessed Malcolm finding the idol). This left Malcolm, Reynold & Eddie alone, and I hardly think they were lounging around twiddling their thumps. As Corinne mentioned with Malcolm, after regrouping at the merge - she & he were able to "download" and get on the same page in 5 minutes. This is what we've always seen Malcolm do, he's more apt to control & set the stage, and I think he knew Eddie & Reynold would be better equipped to be on the same page before TC.

- Then there's Reynold's reaction to finding out that Malcolm had an idol (after Malcolm used Reynold's idol at last TC). We did not see this. While I don't necessarily think Reynold would've been upset with Malcolm (plus Malcolm could easily back pedal out of that), we didn't see any real emotion come from Reynold during the TC. Malcolm would've had take precautions with any damage control about this, and let Reynold in on the fact that he was holding an idol. Therefore, the question would go more along the lines of this: did he tell Reynold about both idols at the same time? If so, that makes it really easy for Malcolm to explain and move past, as he'd be using it save his "amigo"

Regarding your other questions, I'm thinking Phillip was the predetermined target. And while I agree with Malcolm that Phillip is too militaristic and that the game should be fun too, I don't think these were the only reasons Malcolm chose Phillip as the boot choice. Phillip would be the least likely to ever align with the "3 amigos," so that makes him the best choice. As for whether they planned to announce it at tribal, this is the part I'm least sure about. That being said, I think they could've gotten more bang for their buck out of a different declaration at TC. Whether improvised or not, I think Malcolm may have gotten a bit myopic over the theatrics about making this great move now, rather than ensuring him some more breathing room moving forward.

-- aaron

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michel 10812 desperate attention whore postings
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04-23-13, 00:16 AM (EST)
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85. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
I appreciate the answers. Personally, I think it was improvised simply because it was far from the best move. It relied on Phillip panicking and trying to get people to turn on the alliance. The "bastards" stayed the course so Malcolm had to play his idol. It will be interesting to see what comes out in interview.

PS. I would have liked to have someone ask Phillip who was his second-in-command; Andrea or Cochran? I remember that he told the Fans that there was somebody ready to take over if anything happened to him. Maybe now we will found out.

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04-26-13, 01:38 AM (EST)
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86. "RE: S26 Episode 10 - Editing Thoughts"
Hey Michel, and all,

Just wanted to check-in about the question of Malcolm improvising at TC when Phillip was voted out. The answer is no, like I had suspected (I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble - it was still a great TC!) As we hoped, this would come out in exit interviews. And fortunately Rob C asked some great questions to Malcolm during his Rob Has a Podcast exit interview (which is also posted on Youtube)

Here are some of the responses relative to our discussion here:

>- In this episode, we also had the scene when the
>7 in the majority alliance were on the beach reviewing
>their voting plan before heading over to TC (when Andrea
>and Dawn shared that they witnessed Malcolm finding the idol).
> This left Malcolm, Reynold & Eddie alone

Rob C asked Malcolm how much discussion happened before TC, and if the other 2 bro's knew about the idol going in.
Malcolm told Rob C that he found the new idol 45 minutes before TC. And Malcolm confirmed that he told Eddie and Reynold about the idols at this time. He mentioned Andrea and Dawn sprinting off to tell everyone else, and Malcolm pulled the guys aside.

>- Then there's Reynold's reaction to finding out that Malcolm
>had an idol (after Malcolm used Reynold's idol at last TC).
>We did not see this. While I don't necessarily think
>Reynold would've been upset with Malcolm (plus Malcolm could
>easily back pedal out of that), we didn't see any
>real emotion come from Reynold during the TC. Malcolm
>would've had take precautions with any damage control about
>this, and let Reynold in on the fact that he was
>holding an idol. Therefore, the question would go more
>along the lines of this: did he tell Reynold about both
>idols at the same time? If so, that makes it
>really easy for Malcolm to explain and move past,
>as he'd be using it save his "amigo"

This is indeed what happened according to Malcolm! Malcolm confirmed that during this aside discussion with Eddie & Reynold before the TC, that it was the first time that Reynold found out that Malcolm had his own idol. Rob C asked Malcolm if Reynold was pissed, and Malcolm responded that Reynold was "okay" and that maybe there was a "moment" (otherwise) but that Malcolm was bring them "good tidings" with the plan to use both idols. So Malcolm surely used his finesse in this way.

>Regarding your other questions, I'm thinking Phillip was the
>predetermined target.And while I agree with Malcolm that Phillip
>is too militaristic and that the game should be fun too,
>I don't think these were the only reasons Malcolm chose
>Phillip as the boot choice. Phillip would be the
>least likely to ever align with the "3 amigos," so
>that makes him the best choice. As for whether they
>planned to announce it at tribal, this is the part
>I'm least sure about. That being said, I think
>they could've gotten more bang for their buck out of
>a different declaration at TC. Whether improvised or not,
>I think Malcolm may have gotten a bit myopic over
>the theatrics about making this great move now, rather than
>ensuring him some more breathing room moving forward.

Malcolm admits that he could've played it better. He wanted to play it to not give away either idol. With further prodding from Rob C, Malcolm states that it would've been better not to have called out Phillip as to being the one who was getting their votes. He went on to even say that it was a "mistake"

My overall sentiments remain that this was a fun display to watch in the game. And yes, there was some improvisation on Malcolm's part, just not at TC. It was 45 minutes before (which we were not shown as viewers) To me, this explains why Malcolm didn't play it better at TC. I think if Malcolm had more time, he would've settled for a smarter play, rather than the more showy one that we got. Yes, he couldn't have predicted what the opposing alliance was going to say or do at TC, but Malcolm could've controlled his own words. It would've been in his better interest not to have revealed who the "3 amigos" were voting for. One can say that in being so determined that the "3 amigos" stood strong to vote against Phillip, that Malcolm might have lost some of his flexibility and savvy to outwit them at TC, and the possibility for him to sway their votes in a way where he would've allowed him to feel more comfortable to hold onto an idol. In an interesting twist, I believe Malcolm would've likely fared better if there actually was more improvisation at TC.

-- aaron

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04-21-13, 02:21 AM (EST)
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74. "RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
Great analysis, Michel!
>Brenda: It was interesting that the dynamics between Brenda, Dawn
>and Andrea were finally revealed. We had assumed that Brenda was
>close to Andrea but she is with Dawn instead, even talking about voting
>against Andrea. That was a premature reaction though; Brenda acting too
>quickly to a new situation. Turning too early on Sash is what got Brenda eliminated
>the first time so maybe she repeated the same mistake here. However, Brenda has
>given us so few confessionals that when she said she will not turn her back on
>Dawn and expected the same, I think we heard that for a reason. Dawn is
>playing a cut-throat game when she isn’t crying so maybe she will turn on Brenda
>who could be another bitter juror. Of course, the other way to look at it
>is that the scene was included to explain why Brenda votes for Dawn in the end.

Yes, I would've easily guessed that Brenda was closer with Andrea, before Dawn. And surely dynamics could shift over the course of 28 days. Still, it's a bit frustrating that they haven't given us more to let us get more of sense of Brenda's perspective and game-play. I think we heard Brenda's confessional for a reason too. Initially I thought, Brenda will remain loyal to Dawn, and Dawn will not (instead of "vice versa" like Brenda stated) as it seems like Dawn has been so cut-throat to everyone. But I like your thought that this could possibly signify the reason why Brenda could be a vote for Dawn in the end.

>Andrea: She received the focus as Stealth-R-Us’ decision maker at the
>wrong time because we were told that the alliance wasn’t a well-oiled machine.
>The right decision was to gain some distance from Phillip’s organization, not
>be seen as its power broker. It put her in Malcolm’s sights and could have
>cost her the game but then Malcolm changed target. Still, Andrea’s flirt with the other
>side, being happy in the company of Eddie, Malcolm and Reynold didn’t escape notice
>from her own alliance and she is now on their list. The game will get dicey
>for Andrea, especially now that her closest ally is gone. Like Jeff said, she was
>so agitated by Malcolm’s move that she couldn’t look up. She has no clear road
>to the end.

Agreed that it does look like Andrea's game could get dicey. There's something about her edit that isn't reading winner to me, so I'm thinking she won't make FTC - because if she'd did, I think she'd have a good chance due to her game-play thus far. I like your analysis that there needed to be distance from Stealth-R-Us (like with Cochran) and Andrea certainly is right there front and center. I'm appreciating that she's undoubtedly playing the game, but it's not the smartest approach for her to be on everyone's radar now.

>Sherri: Some will argue that she wasn’t agitated because she said
>nothing during the scramble and they will add that Sherri’s smile at Michael when he
>entered the Council area connects the two. I can’t agree because she would need to
>have a pulse to be agitated. Her character has become meaningless since the swap and
>we did see that Malcolm’s move gave her a headache. With the alliance facing the
>elimination of one of its own, Sherri would have been the obvious choice. Her name
>wasn’t even mentioned so that leads us to two possible conclusions: No one actually
>spoke about eliminating her or the editors didn’t show them talking about it.
>Neither is particularly good for her winning chances. The editors love underdog
>stories so it seems that they would have jumped on the occasion to cast doubt on
>her chances but if no one talked about eliminating her it can only mean that
>she has become everyone’s Shamar! How ironic that would be: She was looking for her
>Phillip in Shamar, then she looked at Phillip as her new Shamar but she’d wind
>up being the Final 3 goat herself!

Yes, Sherri really has become meaningless in the scheme of things. Almost looking more foolish in thinking her plans will work than Reynold did earlier in the season. It seems like ages ago since episode 2 when Sherri was in the center of things and looked to have the strongest chance of moving forward with a solid position in an alliance. I love your take that Sherri could wind up as the "Shamar"/"Phillip" for someone else. That would be priceless! And it would fit nicely with how carefully it's been telegraphed that this is Sherri's idea for a sound strategy. One that didn't work for her, but could for someone else.

>Cochran: Like everyone else in the alliance, Cochran showed some agitation.
>First when he was baffled by Dawn’s meltdown and paranoia and then when he faced
>the voting dilemma. In both occasions, he was shown doing what he does best: Listening
>and observing. We saw him taking the time to listen to Dawn’s problem, concluding rightly
>that Dawn was simply being crazy and not dangerous. At TC, he listened and we
>never heard him scrambling. We only saw him whispering to Erik and, judging
>by their respective votes, he was probably explaining that the best play was
>to stay with the original plan. With Erik voting against Phillip, Brenda and Dawn
>targeting Andrea and the farm girl spending so much time with the three guys,
>Cochran is the most loyal player left in that alliance. Quite a change!

Yes, Cochran's doing such a great job in staying calm and cool, and observing, while keeping the right amount of distance. His game has matured a lot since last he played. I noticed that he was least rattled at the TC when the scramble happen. And yes, I wouldn't be surprised if Cochran whispered in Erik's ear about not switching the vote. Like doing a Jedi mind trick to get someone else to take the credit on something that might seem too strategic. Better to have someone else do it, and keep the attention off of you.

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04-21-13, 02:27 AM (EST)
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75. "RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
Just an aside, and nothing against Brenda, but:

How much help do you think she may have gotten from the underwater camera operator in diving for the retainer? She had the swim mask, of course, but that was a deep dive for something so small. And how much time elapsed between Dawn telling her the deal and Brenda retrieving the swim mask?

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04-21-13, 03:40 AM (EST)
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76. "RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
The previous immunity challenge showed that Brenda is a Water Nymph so she didn't need help at all; she put on the mask only to hide her supernatural powers!

How much help did Rupert get retrieving his sling? And why didn't they help Terry?

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04-21-13, 01:02 PM (EST)
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79. "RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
But this was a potential quitter situation. That is something they would want to avoid, especially as they are forming the jury.
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04-21-13, 08:34 AM (EST)
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77. "RE: Episode 10 - A World of Total Paranoia"
“My heart went out to her so much and, after that incident, I am not going to turn my back on her and vice-versa.”

This quote stood out to me as potential foreshadowing, I wonder if Dawn does indeed turn on Brenda. It seems as if Brenda's story is starting, but is only a story in her relationship with Dawn.

LOL, reading further you said this:

Was it coincidence that the camera showed Dawn approaching Phillip when he mentioned jury bitterness? I took it as a hint that Dawn will feel jury bitterness.

And that pretty much convinces me that Dawn isn't the winner. I picked Cochran for the winner in kircon's PTTE before the season started and it's looking more and more that I got one right, no two, I didn't have to post the list till after the first episode.

Now that he got rid of Phillip some will say that Erik will join the 3 Amigos but it was clear that Erik was part of the alliance despite Phillip’s presence.

That's it Michel! I think you're right, he is the 4th Amigo and I don't think he just decided that at TC. Were we not shown that (other then him sitting with them during Dawn's missing teeth scene) he had been leaning towards this association. It's actually his best shot to stay, he can sit within the Amigo alliance protected without being the target of the others. He seems to be playing both sides but we haven't seen it and that makes me think it doesn't work out in the end.

Nicely done review Michel, as always.

I should be watched....closely.

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04-26-13, 06:10 PM (EST)
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87. "Episode 11 - Delicious!"
Previously on Survivor; since the merge, Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie have found themselves on the outside of Stealth-R-Us, an unbreakable alliance of 7 led by Phillip but they were gaining confidence and were ready to make a big move.
Malcolm: “I still have an idol and I’m not going down without some fireworks.”
Phillip, the leader of SRU, was also confident
(“I’m feeling like I just might have a shot of winning.”)
He had a strong alliance and believed that nothing could get in their way.
“It doesn’t matter; one of those three is going to go home”

At the immunity challenge, Reynold found the strength to win and, back at camp, Malcolm found another immunity idol.
Andrea, talking to the group: “Malcolm just found an idol.”
Phillip: “Who cares? We’ve got the numbers, baby.”

At Tribal Council, SRU thought they had an easy vote…
Andrea: “Everyone’s looking at Eddie.”
…but it quickly turned to one of the craziest Tribal Councils the game has ever seen.
Malcolm: “This is the other Immunity Idol…I’m giving it to Eddie.”
Andrea, Dawn, Erik and Sherri were seen with shocked reactions.
Jeff: “What a shift!”
Malcolm: “One of the 7 of this very tight group are going homw.”

With the 3 Amigos now in control, they tried to convince Phillip’s alliance to turn on him.
Malcolm: “The three of us are voting for Phillip.”
In the end, the only member of the SRU alliance to change their vote was Erik but it was enough, leaving SRU without its leader.

In this recap, Jeff referred to Phillip as leader of the alliance no less than 3 times! Phillip’s confidence was also mentioned 3 times, twice by using his confessionals and once by Jeff saying he believed nothing could get in their way. These repetitions served to dump all the “sins” of the alliance on Phillip. It was saying: “Now that Phillip is gone, we are going to see the real players in that alliance.” In reality, they were simply going to show us the players that had seen their airtime or strategy edited out by the “sponge”.

As for the 3 Amigos, though Jeff’s words were quite positive, the tone of his voice when he said that only Erik changed his vote pointed to the Amigos’ failure. We know that Erik’s vote wasn’t even needed but Jeff made it sound like a consolation prize: All that work and only Erik changed his vote. The episode would soon tell us that it wasn’t enough in the long run.


Night 28

When they returned to camp, we saw Dawn hugging Reynold and addressing the 3 Amigos, saying: “You did a good job.”
We had close-ups of Cochran and then Sherri, silently observing while Reynold expressed his happiness.

Malcolm, looking worried, had the first confessional “With the execution of the Specialist, Phillip Sheppard, the alliance of SRU is hopefully going to fracture. If those 6 people stick together, I don’t have a chance in this game. By knocking off their leader, maybe one or two are going to fracture and come over to the dark side with me and the 3 Amigos.”
Malcolm finally smiled.
Cochran said he was happy they’d never hear about Stealth-R-Us again.
Eddie said he didn’t dislike Phillip but that his ego didn’t fit in the shelter.

At first Malcolm didn’t look as happy as Reynold about using 3 immunities to get rid of Phillip. We did see him smile after his confessional but it seemed more like making the best of it and starting to work on getting someone to flip. The following events would show the cost of using both idols.

Erik also had a confessional: “The stability has been rocked out of this game. The legs have been kicked out from under the chair of SRU and it opens me up to talking to people that Phillip didn’t want me to talk to. The tricky part now is knowing when to vote with the 3 boys and when to vote with the remaining Favorites and I enjoy that position because I can choose at the last minute which option is better for Erik.”

Oh! That’s why Erik had given so few confessional: Phillip didn’t want him to talk to us! Kidding aside, we could understand that someone as inexperienced as Natalie Tenerelli would obey Rob’s orders about talking to the enemy but Erik should know better than going along with Phillip. The average viewer will think that he had multiple occasions before the last council to vote with the boys and get rid of his oppressor. It doesn’t really matter if they were good occasions for him. It created an impression of weakness. So, while it set up some suspense regarding the episode’s outcome, this confessional really outlined Erik’s shortcomings. He needs to have the game come to him instead of going for it. It’s not the worst strategy but it requires a lot of luck.

Before the commercial break we had a scene from the next morning; Brenda getting up saying “Last night was miserable.”
Dawn and Erik agreed.

Cochran had a confessional: “I participated and certainly viewed hundreds of Tribal Councils. Never before have I seen anything quite like what happened last night. It left me breathless, it left me terrified.” (We see Cochran with his head on his knees and then Malcolm and Andrea lying down with their buffs over their eyes) “Today’s been a pretty rough day around camp. People are really hungry and the spirits have been low and it’s driving everybody crazy.”

Brenda was the one seen having the roughest time as she started crying. Dawn came to give her a hug.
We heard a melancholic piano playing a familiar melody, one that has accompanied players in medical emergencies.

Brenda had a confessional: “Huge surprises like last night’s Tribal Council, definitely scare me. For the 3 guys to stay and then for the 7 of us to look at each other knowing that one of us is going home, it threw a big thing in my plan. Losing control of the game is terrifying. It’s a little hard with the emotions, with the food situation, with the low energy and with that uncertainty of what these boys are capable of.”

Maybe some will say this confessional was inserted to prepare us to see Brenda quit but I highly doubt it. Brenda’s moments of weakness served to introduce the auction, selling us on how important it is to the players. As soon as the auction was over and Brenda told us how her letters from home reinvigorated her, she disappeared from our screens again.

After the first break, the music was definitely upbeat when Cochran and Dawn returned to camp with tree mail, envelopes and no stupid poem (finally!)

Cochran: “There were 9 envelopes sitting there and I know what it means as a Survivor fan. It means that the food auction is upon us.”

Malcolm (solo): “We are going to an Auction. Alleluia! It couldn’t have come at a better time for me because there is a chance that there will be some sort of big advantage in the game offered up. Considering my position, I definitely have to consider not spending any money on food today. I hate the thought of it but I need all the help I can get.”

The Auction:

Jeff brought up the first item, a beer and a bowl of nuts, saying the first to pay 20 dollars gets it. He hadn’t finished his sentence that Malcolm, the bar tender, yelled out “20!”

Thankfully, Malcolm sparred us the need to analyze this scene by giving himself the role of Dumb Player: “I literally have been prepping myself for hours not to eat any food. I may have shot myself in the foot for this game for a beer and some nuts.”

The next item saw Erik, Brenda, Dawn and Andrea competing for it until Reynold jumped in and bought it for $180.
He was given a choice between 3 items. Cochran offered some help: “You’re always supposed to switch.” Reynold replied: “I don’t trust you Cochran.” Reynold decided to stick with the initial one which was a slice of pizza. The second item had the whole pizza and Sherri jumped up, saying she’d pay $500 for it. Jeff, after a moment of hesitation, realized it could be used to make her look dumb so he let her have it. The editors went with it, letting us hear Jeff saying that there could be something better down the road. Jeff concluded: “You are out of this auction.”

As soon as Jeff showed a full roasted chicken, it was Dawn’s turn to go all in.

Malcolm redeemed himself somewhat when he bought information in the game for $480. No one went all in which disappointed Brenda. He was given a clue to read and memorize. Malcolm told us in confessional that the idol was buried near the well.

When she was outbid by Andrea on another mystery item, Brenda almost started crying again. Andrea finally got the item for $280. It was a nice plate of pasta and meat balls but she had to give it up for a supply of rice and bean. Andrea had a stare that could have killed Jeff but she managed to smile when she turned and went back to the bench.

The next item was an advantage in the immunity challenge. Reynold bid first, followed by a reticent Brenda who was saved by Cochran’s high bid of $340.

Surprisingly, Eddie didn’t bid even if he still had (from what we knew) the full $500. Either he is dumb or he was edited to be dumb. It doesn’t really matter to us but it should matter to Eddie in his future endeavors.

Brenda didn’t take a chance on losing the next one which she got for $300. Jeff showed he was mean by revealing pig brains. She reluctantly took a bite, unsure if it was good for her. Probst didn’t help.

The next items were all the letters from home but they weren’t auctioned off. The players only had to spend $20 for them but that still left out Dawn, Malcolm and Sherri. Dawn rationalized it by saying: “I will talk to them in 10 days.”

The final item had a twist and that got Eddie’s attention. He spent $200 on peanut butter to share with the tribe. Brenda was the one that was shown almost jumping out of her seat with joy. Everyone dug in and Cochran had fun licking Sherri’s fingers.

After Jeff ended the auction, Dawn had a confessional: “Malcolm bought a clue which was most likely for where the location of the idol is. People are a little psyched out by the last tribal council. Even though there is only 3 of them, maybe they will pull some crazy thing and because they have that arrogance, they can get that sense of no matter what they do we will outplay them, will outwit them so go with us.”

Interesting to hear Dawn say that the 3 Amigos are arrogant. We certainly saw arrogance from Reynold and Eddie during the pre-merge but this is the first time we’ve heard negative comments about the 3 Amigos as an alliance. Those negative comments weren’t delivered by someone that the audience will dismiss either. This confessional sets up the demise of the Amigos.

The tribe was covered in peanut butter when they came back to camp.

Reynold (solo): “After the auction, we went from being absolutely morose to now where everybody is well fed and we have plenty of provisions to get to the rest of the game and my alliance has an idol clue. It’s a 180 degree turn.”

Brenda: “I feel like I am on top of the world right now. I have letters from home. I woke up this morning thinking I would give anything for a pizza, I would give anything for a hamburger and when this came out it was like that’s it, that’s all I want. It’s so much encouragement and so much love. This is all that mattered. This is why I am out here, for these people; I’d do anything for them.”

Even Cochran was crying: “I have been trying hard to play this emotionless game this time, to just be this calm, cool, collected gamebot and just run through strategy but getting letters from home makes you realize there is life outside the game and things I value more than this game. Part of me is happy that I am still someone who values family, love and, I guess, things that are really important.”

These were nice character development confessionals for the 3 players. Many viewers feel these letters from home and family visits are a waste of time but Jeff always likes to show them so we can assume these confessionals were chosen to validate the decision to incorporate these excessively sentimental moments. Our interest comes from the difference between the three selected confessionals.
Brenda was strictly sentimental with no game consideration. This served to book end her one episode story arc. Brenda will probably disappear again for a little while.

Reynold had a more balanced take, mixing both sentiments and game play but he still had that overly optimistic approach thinking the 180 degree turn was already a done deal. Note also that Reynold still talked about “we” which is the nature of a good narrator. I have no doubt he must also talk about himself but that is only used when he is about to get a bad surprise.

Cochran, like Reynold, mixed both sentiments and game but he was aware that nothing had yet been accomplished. He was still trying to play a clinical game, knowing there is still a long way to go. If the intent was just to validate the decision to let them have those letters, the confessional could have started with “…Getting letters…” and the whole game play talk could have been erased, time saved. Cochran doesn’t use the “we” pronoun like Reynold: This is his personal quest.

While the others were still assembled to exchange about their letters, Reynold and Malcolm used the time to convince Sherri to stick with them.
“You all better pull something out your butt” she told them.
Reynold pointed out they’d have majority with her and Erik. Malcolm said: “It’s game over: Final 5.” Reynold added: “Guaranteed… We could guarantee you worst case, fifth.”

In the middle of this talk, Sherri had a confessional: “At the auction, Malcolm bought the clue for a hidden immunity so everybody is paranoid because they keep constantly winning and they got hidden immunity idols. You start feeling: They are unbeatable. So, if you can’t beat’em, you join’em.”

Malcolm and Reynold were sitting alone with Sherri when they made her that offer and the best they could come up with was an offer for 5th place?? With Eddie out of earshot, they should have went for it, saying that everyone likes Eddie so he’d have to be out at 4 and Sherri was their choice for Final 3. Showing the end of that discussion really makes the two guys look like dumb players.

Reynold: “They still have us outnumbered 6 to 3 but if we have Erik and Sherri then we are the majority. Then we would knock out Cochran. If we knock out really strategic, power players then that alliance is completely busted.”

This is the first direct mention that others view Cochran as a strategic threat that has to be taken out. Getting this attention and the doubt on his chances that it implies is an important progression in his path to victory. Up to now, Andrea had been presented as the smart player in the alliance, the one to target but now the bull’s eye slowly shifts to the real “calm, cool, collected” strategist.

Night 29

Malcolm walked out of camp at night to go look for the idol but Andrea was watching him.

Malcolm: “I am still trying to stick around. Making it a couple more days in this game can change the game…somewhere buried 6 inches deep, is a hidden immunity idol…hopefully, I will have my third idol in this game. Any power I can get in my corner is going to be necessary just to stick around.”
We then had a black and white scene when Andrea and Cochran joined Malcolm at the well and just sat there watching him. She joked: “I love the smell of fresh dirt.” Malcolm’s confessional continued: “I got busted by Andrea…It’s a weird situation.”

Before long, Cochran left to go to the bathroom but Andrea stuck around. A little later, she would give us a confessional: “This morning… Malcolm is already starting… so I followed him to the well. I find him digging at this tree and then I decided to just sit there because I know, if there is an idol, it’s probably me going home because my name has come up already.”

For some reason, Malcolm just stood there, not even trying to look for the idol. The sun came up and they were both sitting on the well. Malcolm realized that Andrea was like a little sister he couldn’t get rid of so they both walked back to camp.

Malcolm (solo): “Andrea is a smart girl, she will not give me a second to dig. I felt like a bit of an idiot pouring $480 down the drain, a million dollars down the drain maybe.”

If we remember the last idol that Malcolm found, he wasn’t bothered by all the eyes that were on him so why did he stop looking for the idol this time? He probably did continue digging but simply couldn’t find it. Maybe “going to the water” doesn’t mean the well but the ocean, maybe he was looking at the wrong tree so he stopped because he didn’t want to give more information to Andrea on where it could be. The scene made Andrea look a whole lot smarter, or at least more determined, than Cochran.

The Challenge

It was identical to the one in Samoa that Jaison won with the same advantage given to Cochran.
(To those who think challenges are made to favor some players, Jeff did mention that the log was equal to 1 third of the initial body weight of each player to make it fair but no one verified their math)

As soon as Cochran read the note describing his advantage, Eddie had a confessional: “I need to win today really badly but Cochran got a game advantage but Cochran is by no means any type of physical threat whatsoever so I feel very optimistic.”

Now that we have been told that the Amigos are arrogant, why not show us a bit more of that arrogance! This confessional, oddly, reminded me of Mookie talking about Yau Man and it would, of course, turn out to be as wrong.

Cochran, smartly, used his advantage as soon as they were told to go to the second knot. Since he’d keep the 2 knot advantage throughout, there was no point waiting and having to hold more weight longer and Jeff made sure everyone knew about it.

When they got to the last knot, it didn’t take long for Brenda and Erik to drop their logs.
Erik must have thrown this challenge but, once more, he didn’t tell us about his strategy.

Having reached the end of their rope, Sherri and Malcolm were the next to fail. Andrea soon followed and then Jeff turned into a cheerleader, yelling first at Dawn, then Reynold, Cochran and Eddie to keep digging. It only helped Dawn for a short while.
After a short pause, the music picked up again for the showdown between the last 3 guys. Reynold was next and we knew it wouldn’t take long for the other Amigo to fall. The blur on Eddie’s face told us he was in trouble and, just like that, Cochran won his second immunity, did his second little victory dance.
(It wasn’t as funny as the rooty-tooty fresh n’ fruity though)

As they walked away, we heard Malcolm’s confessional: “Cochran is safe for another day so I’d like to think that I have infused some sort of revolutionary spirit in some of these guys and that they are going to realize that, at nine, the three of us could be a lot of help to somebody trying to shake things up.”

This is where Malcolm, like Troyzan before him, made the calculation error associated with a Final 3. It’s stupid, at nine, for 2 people to join a solid threesome because they would automatically be ejected at 5. There shouldn’t have been even a question that an Amigo had to go at this stage but suspense was created through the promos and the edit.

Cochran: “I’m the greatest challenge competitor in Survivor Caramoan. There’s no debate: If you look at the scoreboard, I am demolishing everybody. I won half the individual immunity challenges. I’m the guy that was screamed at after every challenge the last time I played because I was such freaking liability, I suck at challenges, I’m weak but now, I am the biggest challenge threat in this game and I don’t care if it makes me a threat. I am just going to keep winning.”

Now who is showing too much arrogance? At least, Cochran’s boasts were accompanied by a reminder that he did receive a lot of blame the last time, somewhat justifying his satisfaction. Is it another thing that should worry us? It could be a sign that his arrogance will be punished but it could also be telling us about one of his selling points to the jury: He outplayed them.

A nervous Malcolm had the next confessional: “Idols drive you crazy out here. I found two without clues and now I can’t find the one that I paid $480 for a clue and I can’t go look for it because I will be hounded by the girls who will start digging around me. I just got to bluff my way through this, basically.” To Reynold and Eddie, he said: “We need them to think we’re playing an idol.” Then his confessional continued: “If the Favorites do a split vote, that’s the best case scenario because I believe we have Sherri and…we’re good with 4 votes.”

He approached Sherri, telling her he had an idol. They ended up agreeing to vote against Andrea.

Sherri (solo): “I think I want to play with the muscle-heads because I think the muscle-heads are going to keep winning the challenges but then I flip and I go: Cochran won one today. But Cochran won one because he had an advantage so I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Once more, Malcolm will have misread one of his rivals. It’s been a pattern since the merge so we have to say that, in the end, Malcolm was edited as a Dumb Player.

Reynold was talking to Erik, trying to sell the same scenario.

Erik’s confessional: “There are two alliances…I need as much information as possible so I need to keep playing both sides which I am excited about but at the same time, terrified.” After talking to Dawn, Andrea and Cochran, Erik, who assured them of his loyalty, continued to give us his thoughts: “This is the biggest decision for me today; there’s a fork in the road, you can’t go back after this. I have to keep playing like I am going both ways at the same time, all the way up to the vote. All the way up until I know the name that I am going to put down and it might even change at Tribal Council.”

Dawn, Andrea, Cochran and Sherri continued talking. Both Dawn and Cochran had reservations about the split vote which Cochran explained: “It could be disastrous if it’s split and something goes wrong with the split. The only suspicion is that Erik casting the Phillip vote. What was the point of doing that?”
Andrea told them that it would be dumb for Erik to flip right now and that seemed to register with Sherri.

Andrea (solo): “If all goes as planned, my alliance is going to vote with me but all it takes (camera on Sherri) is one person to flip. It’s hard; putting your fate into these people that, as much as I think Erik is telling the truth, (Erik shown talking to Reynold and Eddie) I don’t know if he has a different agenda, like if he came into this game thinking “I got fooled by a girl the first time so why don’t I flip with the guys?”

Sherri in confessional: “Neither side realizes that this is my game right now. I am the one calling the shots. They don’t get it. I kinda want the to think that I don’t realize that I have this much power. As of this moment right now, I am torn as to who I am going with.”

This confessional, as much as any we’ve ever heard in 26 seasons, shows us how the players each have a personal perception of reality. Given her position and her knowledge of the situation, Sherri is absolutely right to think that it’s her game, just like Erik can think he is deciding which road the game will take. The funniest thing is that they are both right and both wrong at the same time! It’s somewhat like Schrödinger’s cat and they won’t know until they open the box. (One player that was in a similar situation was Big Tom during All-Stars when he quite happily proclaimed he was the swing vote. The box opened rather quickly and…poor cat! )

Tribal Council

Asked about any change, Reynold said that Phillip’s departure marked a new chapter in the game.
Phillip looked pissed.
Reynold added: “I don’t see this game as 6 on three anymore. If you don’t make moves, you will be going home sooner than you thought.”
Andrea was nervous but she added: “Anyone flipping at this point would be dooming their game. The three will be sticking together.”
Sherri told Jeff it crossed her mind that she was on the bottom of the six.
That alarmed Dawn. She countered by saying everyone was feeling vulnerable.
Malcolm told Jeff he had a fun day because of the information gained at the auction.
Andrea told Jeff that she was 80% sure Malcolm had found the idol.
Dawn told Jeff that the idols were being played so often. “There’s been a lot of them.”
Erik said that someone who worries could trade up for a new alliance.
Cochran described how easy it would be for one of the 6 to flip the game in a split vote situation.
Andrea felt sure she was targeted.

Jeff said it was time to vote which, judging by the clock, told us that we’d certainly have a re-vote, thus ending all suspense. At least, we did have some funny moments like Cochran saying: “I hope you don’t have that idol because voting you out would be so delicious.”
Or Andrea, Cochran and Dawn’s smile when Malcolm remained seated after Jeff asked for an idol.
There was also Reynold’s shock when the 9th vote turned out to be Malcolm.

In the re-vote, all six, including Eddie voted for Malcolm, letting Cochran savor his delicious moment. Dawn said it was huge.
Jeff talked to Reynold and Eddie in his final words: “You’ve been on the outside of this game since day 1 and 30 days later, nothing has changed but you are still alive and that’s all that matters for anybody tonight.

The Story.

It was interesting to hear Malcolm’s last words where he said he felt so safe entering the Council that he wouldn’t have played the idol even if he had found it. He really should have taken that risk the last time, For Cochran, the vote had to be as delicious as the auction. Sherri and Erik both served him their vote. To add to the flavor, Malcolm used Cochran’s South Pacific “stragedy” by flipping at the merge. This time, the alliance that saw one of its member defect survived at least long enough to get rid of the betrayer.

The Players:

Brenda: Some viewers will rejoice that Brenda has finally been given a role, others will worry that this role could point to her quitting the game. I don’t see it that way. Brenda’s scenes only served to promote the auction, to show how important it is to the players, especially when it delivers letters form home. Her role should revert to its original minimal importance until her time to be voted out approaches. What we did learn was that she had a plan but that the Amigos ruined it. We are left to suppose she had her sights on a Final three with Dawn and Phillip but it wasn’t important enough to mention before Phil’s departure. We didn’t hear her alternative plan either, if she has one.

Eddie: He was only used to show the arrogance of the Amigos that Dawn described. He felt he could easily beat Cochran but he was defeated once more. From the start, Eddie’s edit has shown him as being less threatening than Reynold and only an immunity win could change the order of elimination. As for his connection to Andrea, that ended as soon as it started and it was only shown to tell us why the Favorites will target her.

Reynold: His role as narrator continued after the auction and he is still the eternally optimistic player that keeps getting bad news. Nothing’s changed even if things had momentarily looked up for him. We don’t know if Malcolm relayed any information about the location of the idol to Reynold but, if he did, it wasn’t deemed important enough to show. That’s a hint that Reynold will not find the next immunity idol and will need to win the challenge and it doesn’t seem to suit him.

Andrea: We keep hearing that she is a smart girl and she was still the Amigos’ target. Those are good signs for her chances of winning. Even some members of her alliance tried to get rid of the “little sister”. She has been thinking about her connections to the jury, trying to get their votes in the end and the 3 Amigos see her as a good player so that makes her dangerous. Additionally, she has the determination that could enable her to win the next immunity challenge. That could turn out to be her fatal mistake because Cochran seems to enjoy being the challenge monster. He’d probably like to make that argument to the jury, saying “I also won immunity challenges”. Brenda and, eventually, Andrea could be voted out so that no one else in the Final 3 could make that claim. Sooner or later, the “Reynold and Eddie curse” should catch up to her.

Dawn: She showed once more why she should be considered a jury threat: She was the one congratulating the Amigos when they returned from TC and she was the one comforting Brenda in her moment of weakness. If the jury is angry at her in the end, it will be as shocking to viewers as it was when everyone turned on Amanda but we have seen signs that is what is about to happen.

Sherri: As mentioned above, Sherri can certainly think that she is in control of the game because the vote depended on the name she wrote on the parchment. However, as Dawn and Andrea pointed out, it would have been dumb to flip at this point with the three guys sticking together to the end. She got Malcolm to say he’d vote out one of his guys before Final 3 but she couldn’t trust him. Considering they had offered her 5th place before and knowing how tight they were then she really didn’t have a shot of changing the game. From the viewers point of view, she simply followed the alliance like a good sheep but her hands were tied.

Erik: Similarly, Erik could clearly see the fork in the road and he could proclaim that he was choosing the one that was best for him but those two roads never offered him an equal opportunity. Some will say he made a mistake again, refusing a shot at 4th place for a pre-determined 6th place finish. Even if he sits at number 6 in the alliance, that still offers him a better chance than going with the three guys where he’d have a hard time cracking the top 3 and where he would have angered most of the jury. The road that Erik didn’t choose was leading to a victory by one of the Amigos not to his victory. He couldn’t really take it but by letting us hear his dilemma, the editors opened the door for the viewers to see him as a Dumb Player once more. His original confessional where he admitted to follow Phillip’s rule didn’t help his image. Also, if he is throwing challenges, he should realize that their isn’t a big difference between being seen as a challenge threat or being useless in helping the alliance beat the Amigos. At some point, he’ll need to show his worth or the alliance will simply say: Erik can’t help us beat them anyway so why keep him?

Cochran: The editors continue to cultivate the image of Cochran being both a Fan and a Favorite as shown by his confessionals about viewing the game which isn’t bad in a season that has the Theme of Fans versus Favorites. Here’s someone that is a fan and a favorite so he has the best of both worlds. We finally heard that his rivals consider him as a strategic threat so that is good. What was troubling however was seeing him crouched over when everyone was miserable at the start of the episode, seeing him let Andrea alone to spy on Malcolm, relinquishing his role as observer and finally hearing his arrogance about winning more immunity challenges than the others. Are those mortal wounds to his edits? Some may say they are but we will stay the course and say that the moment of weakness was generalized and used to prepare the joyous auction, the spying of Malcolm wasn’t necessary because they played it as if he had an idol anyway and the post challenge confessional served to set up some other wins that will enable him to make his case during Final TC.

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dabo 25344 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-13, 01:31 AM (EST)
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88. "RE: Episode 11 - Delicious!"
At least we now know why Erik is so low on the confessionals. He walked away from the auction with $480 from the Survivor petty cash fund.

Actually, Erik's game is extremely interesting to me, he's keeping his options open as much as possible. Unlike Sherri, he is one of the Faves from the start, the numbers are on his side. At some point the Fave factions would have to turn against each other, he could back one side or the other. Or he could form his own faction with Brenda his one remaining ally from the start, and/or with Andrea who has lost her Fillup. Or both. His endgame plan isn't fixed. It is a bold way to play the game.

God help him if he plots with Dawn, though. rimshot!

Anyway, interesting read as always. And if it isn't said often enough, thanks for putting in the work.

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04-27-13, 02:44 AM (EST)
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89. "RE: Episode 11 - Delicious!"
...And Cochran beat him to the finger lickin' moment!

Was it actually confirmed that Erik bought nothing? That's how it was edited but some items are simply not shown.

As for his game, I wonder if he really has options or even a shot at winning. Going with the 3 Amigos wasn't really an option and what happens when they are gone? At Final 6 he'd still be on his own and the F3 format reduces his options greatly. If it was a Final 2 then it would be easier to flip because you'd have four people on the outside. With a Final 3 then, at best, you've got a tie and that's only if all three outsiders recognize that they don't have a seat for the final TC. Fool one like Rob did with Ashley and the game is locked.
Did I ever tell you how much I hate the Final 3?

Thank you Dabo. I do it for the fun of it but it's nice to know it's appreciated.

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05-06-13, 02:07 PM (EST)
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95. "RE: Episode 11 - Delicious!"
Nice Michel! Enjoyed the read as always. Loved the Big Tom Funny 115 too

I should be watched....closely.

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05-04-13, 03:47 PM (EST)
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90. "Episode 12 - Timing: "
The recap started with the same scene with a tarsier that we had seen in the premiere, the one where the primate jumps on a branch to catch an insect. Then we heard Jeff say: “After the merge the power alliance had a 6 to 3 advantage over Malcolm, Reynold and Eddie but they weren’t the only ones struggling to survive. Brenda was heard asking: “How can we live on just water? Lack of food and injuries…Stuff like that scares me.” At tree mail, the Survivors found much needed gifts.

At the auction, most of the tribe focused on their stomachs…
(Dawn was heard jumping on an item “Five hundred”, we heard Erik’s surprise: “Oh! my gosh!” and then we saw Dawn gulping down her chicken, Sherri enjoying her pizza and Eddie diving into the peanut butter.)
…while Cochran focused on the game buying an advantage at the next immunity challenge…
(Eddie’s expression of surprise was inserted here)
…and it was worth every penny.
Cochran was heard boasting: “I am the greatest challenge competitor in Survivor Caramoan and I am ready to take over.”
Back at camp, Sherri and Erik were the swing votes, being wooed by two alliances…
(Erik: “For me, I have to continue playing both sides.”)
…and the 3 Amigos.
(Sherri: “As of this moment right now, I am torn as to who I am going with.”)

At Tribal Council, Reynold and Eddie saw another chance to change the game slip through their fingers.

Jeff is making our task too easy: Cochran and Erik were the only two players to receive positive moments and we know that Erik can only be misdirection. He was used to show us that Dawn wasn’t focused on the game any more than Eddie and Sherri, Brenda is shown barely surviving and Andrea mattered as much in this recap as she will after this episode. Cochran was presented as the only one still totally focused on the game. Staying in focus would prove important in the first immunity challenge but this episode told us what was really needed:


We had a night image of a tarsier as the tribe, led by Andrea, came back to camp. They were happy to be in the Final 8.

Reynold in confessional: “It’s not the 3 Amigos anymore, Malcolm is gone, but the game is not over…I’m going to keep fighting.”

Eddie also had a confessional: “Since day 2, I have been playing with my back against the wall with Reynold and we know we’re on the chopping block every Tribal Council. However, we are still here so…keep going with the punches…Anything can happen in this game.”

Andrea then talked to Cochran, saying that they couldn’t let Reynold make it to the end. Cochran said it wasn’t going to happen.

Cochran’s confessional: “The Fans are desperate, they are cornered, they have no power. The power rests with the Favorites right now and I want to take away as much power and suck it up for myself as possible. I want to take control of the game and I will do it without remorse, I will do it without any reservations. I’m scared that I am saying that. I feel that I am turning into something that would scare my mother if she saw me. I am not the little Harvard nerd who was trembling in the bushes last time.”

Again, we see a lot of confidence displayed with Cochran. In the early years, this would have been a sign that he was about to be knocked out but ever since Hantz, the editors aren’t afraid to show arrogance as a way to demonstrate control of the game. It’s not a very subtle way to tell a story but subtlety went out the window a long time ago, when Burnett stopped taking care of his own product.

Day 31

Andrea and Cochran brought tree mail which told the tribe about the upcoming immunity challenge.

Erik had the confessional to explain the general feeling: “Tree mail shocked me this morning. This game never stops. We woke up this morning thinking there would be some cool reward today. No! Immunity. So now we have to beat Reynold and then go to Tribal and vote him off because Reynold is a threat.”

Erik would soon show us what were his real priorities.

The Challenge.

As Jeff took the necklace from Cochran, he remarked: “Cochran now even shirtless! It’s a complete transformation from the guy who was afraid to take his shirt off just a couple of years ago.”

Yes Jeff; a complete transformation goes hand in hand with this season’s theme of correcting previous mistakes.

After explaining the challenge, Jeff told them there would also be a reward; information for the game.

Reynold then gave us a confessional: “I am number one on the hit list, no doubt about it. I have to win or I am going home.”

As soon as the challenge started, Jeff brought out some doughnuts which Eddie and Erik found too tempting.
Erik told Eddie: “If you don’t take them I’m going to do it.”
Eddie said they should both take them and Erik agreed so Eddie turned to Reynold and apologized for leaving him alone. Reynold said it was OK.
Dawn applauded when one of the Amigos stepped off.

This was very damning for both guys. Eddie was opening the door for Reynold to outlast him while Erik said he had to beat Reynold and simply caved in. Maybe some will defend Erik by saying he forced Eddie’s hand but really, he was jumping in no matter what Eddie would have done.

After 15 minutes, the remaining players went up on the second perch and Jeff brought out 3 hot dogs. That got Cochran’s attention so he turned to everyone saying that he couldn’t last any longer anyway. Jeff noted that he got no love from anyone, no one’s approval but he still jumped in.

Cochran was heard in confessional: “It might have been a big mistake, stepping out of the game (Dawn and Andrea didn’t look happy at all) but I couldn’t last that much longer. As long as one of us wins immunity, it’s fine. The goal is to keep it out of the hands of Reynold.”

This could be another damaging event for Cochran but the editors don’t really care to show these moments of weakness. We’ve had Jenna, Todd and JT who all went for these temptations so the important thing is to give them an occasion to explain themselves through a well placed confessional.

Soon Jeff noted that Reynold was unstable and that Dawn was like a shark watching its prey. Another 15 minutes went by so they went to the top of the platform. Dawn and Sherri were the first to drop out without a temptation. Reynold made some huge recoveries, Jeff noting that he was not going to go down easily. Jeff told them to stay focused but the challenge soon proved once again that balance wasn’t for men. We saw Sherri jumping up to celebrate when he fell.

A smiling Brenda turned to Andrea, asking if she wanted to stay.
Andrea said she did want it and added: “I’ll share the clue with you if you jump off.”
Brenda answered: “If you beat me, I’ll be happy for you but I rather you beat me than me jump off.”
Andrea agreed that she wanted that also so they stayed up for 3 hours when Andrea proposed doing it on one foot. Brenda agreed. It may have been historic like Jeff said but it didn’t work out too well for Brenda who fell in almost immediately.

Brenda had the confessional: “It’s exciting because Reynold and Eddie didn’t win the challenge so we can split the votes; we’re good. One of them is going home.”

This confessional spot is usually reserved for the “overconfident player that will soon get his comeuppance” so it was a nice try by the editors but did anyone really think that Brenda was going home?

Coming back to camp, we heard Dawn congratulating Andrea and Brenda while Cochran showed the winner where to hang the necklace.

In confessional, Reynold gave us his “eulogy” but he thought it could be time to blindside someone.

Andrea had a confessional: “I thought that, as soon as Reynold dropped out, I would say “Brenda, you won the last immunity can I just have this one?” but she stood on that perch for hours. She really proved that she is a big threat to me. There was a huge part of me that regretted promising to share the note with Brenda. When we found out it was the clue to the immunity idol, at that point I don’t want to look suspicious so I told my whole alliance. The most important thing about today is that the idol is not in Reynold or Eddie’s hands.”

Cochran read the clue once more while Erik and Andrea started digging. Brenda stood back much like she did in Nicaragua, letting the others get the idol. Erik soon found it and held it up towards Andrea who reached out and took it.

Did Andrea steal the idol from Erik? She did take it out of his hands but he had extended his hand in her direction and he let go immediately. The smile and the fist bump showed he was OK with letting Andrea have the idol and there really wasn’t anything else he could do…even if Cochran thought otherwise:

Cochran in confessional: “Erik finds the idol and I’m thinking “Fantastic!” I can probably tell him what to do with the idol and he’ll do it and before I have a chance to start celebrating, he’s already handing the idol over to Andrea. Does he learn nothing?”

Maybe it was his tone of voice but Cochran’s words reminded me of Todd in China after Zhan Hu won the immunity challenge they were supposed to throw. He already had a genius plan but it was foiled by someone else’s stupidity and now he’d have to deal with an opponent that had an idol just like Todd’s plan to have James used the idol against Jaime failed when Fei Long went to Tribal Council.

Andrea also had a confessional: “I really want to get Reynold out but I’m still contemplating if we can throw a blindside in there, it would be a game changer and more of an end game move to get a strategic threat now while they don’t see it coming. Some blindsides need to happen before it happens to me.”

More than just the irony, look at how Andrea describes the next blindside: A game changer and an end game move. Nice way to set it up for the player that will pull off that blindside.

Bathing in the cove, Andrea talked to Cochran and Sherri, asking who should be first to go in their group. She answered her own question by saying that Brenda showed she was dangerous.
Cochran’s confessional was inserted here while Andrea went on, saying that Dawn could be on board and that it would be exciting to vote someone else besides Reynold.

Cochran’s thoughts: “I think today’s immunity challenge and the fight demonstrated by players like Andrea and Brenda, marked possibly the beginning of the end for the alliance of six. There are still two easy votes in Reynold and Eddie. We can split the votes between the two of them and one will be sent packing and yet, we are seeing the self-interested desires bubbling to the surface and people are playing for the end game to secure their own victory instead of a group victory. Andrea is a smart player and Andrea, like me, is thinking well beyond the six. It’s Andrea’s opinion that the right big move to make is to blindside Brenda. She could go on an immunity streak, she’s one of the more capable challenge competitor in this game but this game is all about timing.”

When Cochran mentioned self-interested desires, the camera showed us Andrea in her best imitation of “Outback-Jerri-laughing-at-everyone”. Speaking of timing, it was interesting to note that Cochran didn’t tell Brenda just then about Andrea’s scheme since he obviously didn’t think it was the proper timing to boot the Redemption Island girl. He won’t hesitate to tell her when he feels the timing is right.
As for Sherri, the one that controls this game, she wasn’t even given a chance to speak in that whole discussion. Did she say anything? Probably but it sure wasn’t important for us to hear it. Dawn’s fans will note that Cochran talked about a group victory in this individual game. Is Cochran setting it up so that Dawn wins? That will be the last doubt put on his road to victory.

Andrea then went to Dawn about Brenda. Dawn was seemingly going along but she also said that Reynold had to go.

Dawn’s confessional: “This is the longest I’ve been in the game. To be this close makes me feel like these decisions are going to be the really critical ones for me. The best thing for the alliance would probably be for Eddie or Reynold go next but it’s definitely an option to blindside Brenda. The biggest obstacle for me is not having an opponent out here, the biggest obstacle for me has been my mind.”

Dawn was the one that introduced the theme that “A Winner Makes Decisions” so it’s quite telling that she tells us that these are the critical decisions. It’s also quite interesting that she contemplated, in confessional, the idea of turning on Brenda, the one that swore loyalty to her and expected loyalty in return. We have seen Dawn’s mind playing tricks on her already so we can expect that it will act up again at Final TC.

Tribal Council

Eddie didn’t impress the jury when he said he sacrificed security and pride for doughnuts.
Jeff pretty much brushed over Cochran’s decision to go for food, only mentioning his name along with Dawn and Sherri. He was interested to know why Brenda and Andrea stayed an extra 2 or 3 hours after Reynold fell out. Was there really a tight bond between them?
Brenda said it was an opportunity to test herself and she repeated that she preferred being beaten than jumping off. Andrea was in agreement but Jeff thought it opened the door for the guys.
Reynold repeated that he could help someone who wanted to make a move.
Cochran explained that the game was a question of timing.
Dawn told Jeff that she was aware that it could be her turn because she “plays both sides of something” making it harder for her “to trust people at all.” She candidly added: “I know I’m not trustworthy at times.”
Jeff called Dawn’s comment one of the most honest he had heard and asked Andrea if she also felt that paranoia comes from knowing you aren’t trustworthy.
Andrea was also quite candid: “When you know what you are capable of and you know you can lie and deceive people, you know the people you are playing with can do the same thing to you.”
Brenda had a big reaction to that.
Eddie said that the six were “major players” (!!) He thought it could help him squeeze forward.
Andrea told Jeff that Reynold and Eddie could help take out “a Dawn, a Cochran, an Erik or a Brenda.”
Jeff chimed in “…or an Andrea.”
Andrea had to agree but added: “Not tonight but…”
Now isn’t that nice foreshadowing. It made Erik, Dawn and Brenda smile.

One guy voted for Erik, the other for Sherri. It was probably to send them a message but the message we got was that they lacked a basic understanding of this game The alliance’s vote was split but 4 votes went to Reynold so we didn’t have to endure another re-vote.

Reynold left with a lot of class but we had heard Brenda’s voting confessional where she said that his fault was his lack of humility. The reminder of his arrogance was probably inserted there just in case some viewers saw him as a Victim.
Dawn looked truly relieved to see Reynold go.

Night 31

Befitting her upcoming exit, Andrea had the first confessional of the second half: “Finally Reynold is gone which is a huge relief and now we are at Final 7. We didn’t make the big move tonight but now I am thinking of what’s next and the obvious is: Why don’t we blindside somebody when they don’t see it coming? It’s going to come down to who we decide is the bigger threat.”

Dawn talked to Cochran saying it was a game for a million so “if we don’t do it, they are going to do it to us. It has to be Dawn or Brenda.”

After Corinne, Malcolm and Reynold, Andrea is the latest to show us that the players out there have no idea of the close bond between Cochran and Dawn. His confessional would show us how close they really are.

Cochran (in a morning confessional): “I’m all about making big moves and Andrea, to her credit, is willing to make a big move but it’s a big move I don’t agree with. Once again, she is talking about taking out Brenda but also Dawn who is probably my closest ally in this game.”

Cochran talked to Brenda and Dawn. The two women were talking about eliminating Eddie but Cochran told them what he knew about Andrea: “The problem is, she’s not gonna want to vote off Eddie. She’s debating between both of you right now.”

That got a reaction from Brenda who quickly found a camera to give us her thoughts: “Cochran told me that Andrea wants to blindside me or Dawn and that show just how much untrustworthy she is. Now, I want Andrea out of the game because she wants me out of the game.”

Cochran had another confessional while the camera showed us Andrea scratching Eddie’s back, the implication obvious. “Andrea, I think, is one of the few remaining independent thinkers and that’s a dangerous thing. The time to make a big move is rapidly approaching. So, if Andrea doesn’t win the next immunity challenge and she doesn’t play the idol, she might be going home.”

It’s interesting that Cochran’s first confessional was actually recorded the next morning while the second one had been recorded earlier, during the night. One can assume that the editors felt it was important to explain Cochran’s motives first, showing that he was protecting his closest ally, before presenting his personal reason for going after the farm girl.

The Challenge.

Erik, finally, led after each stage of the challenge and easily won it. The only interesting comment came when Jeff singled out Andrea: “Andrea would like to win immunity again; you want to be safe tonight, you cannot risk it, there are only 7 people left.”

Tell me after this that Jeff’s comments aren’t carefully chosen!

Jeff had to remind Erik about the last time he won immunity! He asked him if there was a chance he’d give it up again. Erik said he was too scared to do it this time.

Erik’s confessional: “The challenge was right up my alley and I killed it and I won immunity. This time around, I have learned from mistakes I made in the past. This is not any kind of moral decision for me to make, whether or not to give it to someone else or keep it. This is a safety blanket that can get me farther in this game.”

Right then, we saw him reacting in surprise to the sound of thunder! Maybe it was a sign that Erik shouldn’t feel too comfortable!

Andrea was still pushing her agenda by telling Cochran and Dawn that Brenda should be next to go since she didn’t ##### anybody and she is fierce in challenges.
(Fierce? I think Andrea is caught up in the Sucks parlance!)

Andrea’s confessional: “Brenda made my job tonight pretty easy by being a challenge threat. So, I want Brenda out and I talked to everybody and now she is going. I feel bad for the kid because, going back to my first season, I felt completely comfortable and then Bam! I was blindsided.” (The camera gave us a close-up of Cochran just then) Andrea went on: “I know what it’s like to be lied to. I have an immunity idol, I am going to bring it to Tribal Council and, if all of a sudden, I feel paranoid, I would play it but right now it does seem like my ducks are in a row and it’s going to work out.”

After learning from Andrea that it was Brenda going home, Eddie had a confessional: “I have been tricked, fooled and pretty much every other adjective before every other tribal Council but I feel a little bit differently tonight. Andrea told me that everyone is going to blindside Brenda and there’s really absolutely no reason to lie to me. They know I don’t have an immunity idol so, for the first time in 33 days, I think I am going to tribal Council and I think I have an idea on who we are actually voting for.”

So Eddie, how does it feel to be playing Reynold’s role?

Andrea brought up the scenario of being in the Final three with Eddie to Cochran who quickly rejected the idea by saying: “Well, we’d lose.” Andrea reacted dubitatively, saying: “It would be close but it would be better if he snuck in there than Brenda or Dawn I think.”

Cochran told us about Andrea’s latest mistake: “I haven’t been able to mention Eddie’s name for the past 10 days without Andrea saying: “No! Eddie is harmless. I control his vote, he’s fantastic, he is great.” Now it all makes sense: She wants to go to the final three with him. Whether it’s personal, whether it’s strategic, I don’t know but the fact of the matter is Eddie is moving up on Andrea’s priority list so I’m worried that I am going to be replaced by Eddie. I admire Andrea for having a game plan but that plan doesn’t include me. I want to be a part of everybody’s plan and if I’m not a part of your plan, Andrea…you are not going to be a part of mine.”

There it is: After the earlier back scratching scene and now the girlish giggle shown during Cochran’s confessional, the editors implied that, once more, Andrea flirted her way right out of the game.

Cochran wanted to be cautious by splitting the votes in case Andrea played the idol.

Brenda reacted in confessional: “I know Andrea wants to blindside me so this is a very tricky vote. It’s like a leap of faith: I am writing down Andrea and I hope that I don’t go home. So, I am in huge danger but the plan has already been enacted I just have to let it ride.”

Cochran told Erik they were voting against Andrea, telling him she had to feel completely safe.

Cochran (solo): “Once again I have to trust Erik, the ice cream scooper who gave up his idol and was promptly voted out and that’s scary.”

Andrea also talked to Erik, telling him it was Brenda and adding that she would love to go to the end with him.

Erik’s confessional: “Andrea came up to me and pretty much told me she wanted to take me all the way to the end and I think I believe it. I mean, I helped her get that immunity idol so I have an in with both alliances at this point. Both alliances think I am on their side but Cochran hasn’t promised me final three so, if they split the vote, I can totally shake things up. I feel so much calmer today. The first time I played the game, I was pretty much at the mercy of what everybody else wanted to do. This time around is actually pretty different: I am actually in control of the game it feels like and I am going to do whatever is best for me.”

Another great example of the fogs of war where a participant really can’t have an overview of what is going on around him. Erik must have thought, at that point, that his story was the most interesting one of all the castaways yet it was barely presented to us.

Tribal Council

Eddie agreed with Jeff that tonight would be the perfect night for a blindside.
Brenda had a difficult time telling Jeff what would happen if they didn’t make a big move. She finally said people would start lying.
Sherri told Jeff that there were lies already.
Cochran agreed, adding: “Multiple people told me that they intend to go to the end with me when they probably don’t…and I am sure I made similar promises that were similarly dishonest.”
Andrea laughed at that and told Jeff it made her nervous, dealing with people who had several final three aliances and she wasn’t different. She proceeded to tell Jeff that she had the hidden immunity idol and that everyone knew it.
That got a big reaction from Malcolm.
Cochran told Jeff the idol was almost as big a deal as Erik’s necklace and that there weren’t many occasions left to play it.
Andrea told Jeff she could play the idol if she felt paranoid.

Dawn seemed to have trouble catching her breath when Jeff asked if the idol would be played. When Andrea remained seated we saw Brenda’s big smile and Cochran amused look.
Expecting a 6-1 vote between Brenda and Eddie, Andrea’s look changed immediately when Jeff showed the first vote against her. She looked puzzled when Jeff turned over two “Eddie” votes and she finally caught on when her name appeared for the second time, unable to hold back a surprised: “What?” The final vote showed Andrea that she had been lied to but she took it in stride, telling the “guys” that they were good.
Reynold and Malcolm enjoyed that a lot! Only Phillip didn’t look pleased but who knows what goes on in that head.

When Jeff noted that they finally made a big move, the camera, once more, showed Brenda’s smile and Cochran’s pleased expression. Jeff tried to do some instant promotion by asking: “Now what?” but every viewer could answer him that it was Eddie’s turn next.

The Story

It’s becoming quite evident why Jeff likes this season. The openness and the candor displayed during tribal Council is turning it into the anti-Guatemala, a season he detested. In Central America, we had the very confrontational (to put it politely) Judd who proclaimed: “I have not lied in this damn game, man! OK, I lied once but I am no damn liar, man!” and the very secretive Rafe and Danni who never gave anything away. In South East Asia, we have people openly admitting to lying and having multiple Final three deals in place. It makes Jeff’s job easier and he is enjoying it but no one can say we’ve had better blindsides than during season 11. I liked Guatemala and find this season quite ordinary but then I really like seeing “pretty-boy” Probst getting slammed in the wall even if it’s only figuratively and thought Judd was hilarious. There is a similarity though between this season and Guatemala: No one has figured out the key alliance between Cochran and Dawn just like no one saw the one between Rafe and Danni. I’m thinking another reason why Jeff likes this season and hated Guatemala is because crowning a smart returning player represents a better story than recounting how a dumb returning player lost.

The Characters

Brenda: Not only did we see her breakdown being used during the recap, we saw a repetition of her Nicaraguan mistake: She was in danger but never scrambled as witnessed by her own confessional: “I know Andrea wants to blindside me so this is a very tricky vote. It’s like a leap of faith: I am writing down Andrea and I hope that I don’t go home. So, I am in huge danger but the plan has already been enacted I just have to let it ride.” A leap of faith and letting it ride showed that Brenda took no actions to counter Andrea, she just let her alliance do the work and we were shown that Cochran was the one that pulled it out for her. Maybe her fumbled answer to Jeff told us what is Brenda’s weakness in this game: She has a huge tell when she lies so she only talks to her allies, relying on them to do the work.

Eddie: Now that he is shown as the delusional optimist, he may as well take on Reynold’s biggest role, that of dead-man-walking. It isn’t a good sign when a player is on the block and still gets blindsided by someone else’s elimination! They had no reason to lie to him, he thought but who were “they”? Eddie didn’t even have enough awareness to know that “they” amounted only to Andrea. OK, it’s certainly possible, even likely, that someone else like Cochran or Dawn corroborated what Andrea told him simply because that would be the thing to do but “character-Eddie” looked so naïve when he told us that he finally knew what was going down at Tribal Council that it makes it funnier to simply go with the story that he relied only on Andrea and convinced himself that Brenda was going.

Sherri: For her, it was particularly damning that the recap showed her saying she was torn by the choice when we could have heard her repeating that neither side realized that it was her game. That’s because it isn’t her game and we had another clear indication of that when we didn’t hear her thoughts despite being present during the conversation when Andrea first brought up Brenda’s name. Sherri wasn’t given a chance to say much during either TC so it’s doubtful she will have anything important to say if she makes the last one.

Dawn: The best thing for Dawn in this episode was that Cochran talked about a team victory. It could set her up to pull out the win in the end but we heard her say that her mind is her biggest obstacle out there and the Final TC will require some quick thinking. We also heard Andrea saying that Dawn could turn on anyone in an instant so that feeling could be generalized to the whole jury. Players that are seen as disloyal have had trouble winning jury votes ever since the “rats and snakes” speech! Can Dawn win? Of course. All these hints about a meltdown in front of the jury could be shown to make us forget that mother-of-6-Dawn should get sympathy from the jurors but we are reading the story so we have to go with what we hear. (Should have done that last season when first Swann then Malcolm and later Abi told us Denise wins!)

Erik: He had an up and down episode: The recap generously portrayed him as a focused player deciding for himself but then the confessional before the first challenge set him up to look dumb when he accepted Jeff’s first temptation. His image didn’t improve when Cochran pointed out he had given away immunity to a woman again. The second immunity challenge was right up his alley and he once more looked like a viable candidate especially when he talked about choosing to his advantage. However, he told us he believed Andrea’s Final 3 offer but didn’t get one from Cochran. So, when Cochran admitted making several false Final 3 offers, the viewers should have expected Erik to take the hint that he doesn’t even figure in Cochran’s fake plans!! Voting out the girl he helped find the idol looked like a dumb move for Erik and nothing in the edit mitigated that impression. Even if Erik is emerging as the late-season threat to win, we’ve never fallen for that trick and won’t start now with the ice cream scooper. It’s the editors’ way to direct unfocused viewers away from the winner.

Cochran: Now that the decisions are critical, we see Cochran making them and it was all about timing as he said. When Andrea first brought up Brenda’s name he knew he could get her to wait because Reynold had to go but when Andrea talked about eliminating both Brenda and Dawn, Cochran reacted quickly, selling her out to the two women. Cochran has his Final 3 plan and it includes Dawn so he wasn’t going to let Andrea have her way. By saying that she was one of the few independent thinkers out there, Cochran told us he was one also. What I found most fascinating was that Jeff and the players found more reasons to criticize the choice of staying on the perch than Cochran’s decision to jump off! Wanting to compete was an indication of disloyalty but the one taking over control of the game is still presented as a loyal player. I’d be curious to know how much of his loyalty to Dawn is personal and how much comes from seeing her as being beatable in the end? Is he right? That is the only question left.

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05-04-13, 09:22 PM (EST)
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