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"Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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02-23-14, 05:20 PM (EST)
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"Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
The new season is fast approaching and I don't know how many people will be able to join the fun over here. I wanted to continue the tradition of the editing thread so here's a look at the characters and the game before the season starts.

For only the 3rd time, we have 3 tribes at the start. While on paper that should be a nice set-up, the two first games didn't give us very exciting pre-merges. Both Matsing and Saboga got decimated but, strangely, the last 2 members from those tribes (Jenna, Rupert, Denise and Malcolm) made the Final 4. What can we expect this time?

I think that dividing the tribes into Brawn, Brains and Beauty is a bad idea. It will influence the game that was supposed to be played between total strangers. Of course, people like Cliff and Tony can't hide their physical abilities but for the others, production put targets on their backs. Where, in the past, people could keep their occupation secret or hang back in some challenges to hide their abilities, this time everyone will know that some are considered smarter or stronger than the others.

That target will probably translate into a war between the "Brains" and the "Brawn" that could serve the members of the Beauty tribe well. We know that there will be challenges that will favor the Brawns and others that will be made for the Brains which means Beauty could easily slip in the middle every time.

Besides the tribe division, we have to deal with three additional twists:
- Tribes will elect leaders
- Leaders will designate their weakest member
- The Yul idol is back.

Who will be elected leaders? In Samoa. the tribes chose two men and very few women even received votes. Those guys (Mick and Russell Swan) weren't the youngest of their tribes. I'd expect Cliff, David and LJ to be the chosen leaders unless someone like Sarah volunteers.

For weakest, I think Lindsey, Kass and Morgan could be in trouble. Hopefully they will be smart enough to choose the extra bag of rice instead of the idol clue.

As for the idol, it all depends on two unknown factors: When will it expire and will they bring back the rule that it cannot be passed during Tribal Council? If it expires at F5 then it won't be an automatic trip to the F3 like Yul received. And an idol that is played after the votes are read needs to be in the possession of the player that will play it before the votes are made or else it it's a joke.

Now, let's look at the characters:

Appalling Tribe

Cliff: I look at the cast picture and think Cliff is a mountain of a man. Unfortunately, Mount Robinson will likely fall down the cliff. If he makes the merge without numbers, he’ll be an immediate target. Even with the numbers, his allies will be too scared to keep him around once his vote isn’t needed. There’s only one way Cliff could go to the end and that would be to play like Shamar and hope a new Sherri sees him as a goat. However, “Uncle Cliffy” is a nice guy who thinks Survivor is like greeting new team mates and building a winning team! The fool! He only needs to be nice and work hard for a team to naturally build itself around him. The problem is that he won’t be given the chance to decide how that team gets broken down because he’ll be the one receiving the votes.

Tony: He talks fast and he’s already playing too fast. Sure, everyone is an opponent, sure most have to get eliminated for him to win but it’s still a social game and he’ll need allies just like everyone else, something he seems to forget. I don’t like his chances of going very far in this game. He could be an interesting character though. He told us that he doesn’t like being outdoors in the heat and around sweaty people so you just know he’ll get cranky at some point. Imagine Judd on steroids and maybe that will be “Tone-hey”.

Yung "Woo" Hwang: Jeff compares him to Fabio but I think Woo will be much more alert than the surfer dude. Just the discipline needed to be a martial arts expert tells us that Woo won’t be as completely out of the loop as Fabio. To be a successful instructor one must be able to communicate with others and to judge the others’ weaknesses and strengths so I think Woo can go far. There’s no question that his skills set is much more useful in the typical Survivor challenges, where speed, agility and balance are often used, than Cliff’s and Tone-hey’s. I expect Woo will do as good as, if not better than Frosti, another likable, athletic Asian.

Sarah: Isn’t it strange that we have many seemingly built-in duos? On the same tribe, we have two African American women, two Southerners are on another, two police officers are on this one, etc… The casting department probably wanted to keep some of these players safe by giving them natural allies but will it work? I have doubts, especially concerning Sarah and Tony. On the job, partnerships don’t always gel and I think this will happen here between these two. They will probably butt heads more than they will cooperate. She’s a college graduate from the Mid-west while he’s a brute from Jersey. Not exactly an ideal match. She describes herself as observant and competitive while I saw only a boring person. To compare with previous police officers, I see her more like the useless Cristina Coria from Cook Islands than the brilliant Amy O'Hara in Guatemala. Sarah’s monotonous voice almost put me to sleep so I don’t think we’ll get many confessionals from her.

As for her game, the onion-type strategy she plans to use for alliance building has been tried before. As good as it sounds, it usually doesn't work that way but in reverse: The big alliance forms first and then you make a few firmer connections within that alliance. Going first for a key ally and adding numbers around you usually leads to getting played by the person you thought was your number 1.

Lindsey: She thinks she is great for this game, I think she’ll be bad. She describes herself as manipulative and strong and adds that she’s able to read people but all I saw was someone that will be the outsider and an early boot. I hope she can give us a few laughs before she goes, that she can be as fun as Casaya’s Courtney or Raro’s Flicka even if she can't do much more than that.

Trish: At least this tribe has one interesting woman. I really like Trish’s enthusiasm and her energy. I like even more the fact that she barely talked about what she will do in the game but expanded on what she will have to endure instead. She showed that she understands the game and that big plans, on the days leading up to the show, are useless. It will all depend on integrating the tribe on day 1 and she seems to get that. Of course, it could be that we didn’t hear her talk about strategy in the presentation video because she’ll never be a strategic player on the show but if we do hear the game from her perspective we’ll know she’s a contender. The only red flags I see are her age (even if she looks younger than 47) and her temper which she says she’ll have to keep under control. I think Trish will go far if she gets in the early alliance.

Luzer Tribe

David Samson: First, I have to say that, for the first time ever, I despise a new contestant. I see Samson as a con man for what he did to the Montreal Expos. But I will put that aside and consider him just like a character on a TV show.

I noted that one of his pet peeves is lazy people. On Survivor, that could be the cause of some conflicts and, if the lazy person is in an alliance like Shamar for example, it could get David in trouble. When he lists Boston Rob as his favorite player, he hits on one of my pet peeves: New contestants who think they can be just like previous winners. Good luck with that. His quote about being persistent, getting the task done and leading without being the leader could also get him in trouble. If the task is building the shelter and he won’t let others rest before it’s done then he will be seen not only as a leader but as a pushy one. On the plus side, he says he’s always underestimated, that he’s been a fan since episode 1 (he doesn’t say if he stayed a fan throughout though) and he shows a bit of self-deprecating humor that could serve him well. His ability to con people and a potential conflict between the two young bucks on his tribe could get David far. I expect to see him make the merge.

Garrett Adelstein: He exhudes self confidence which could create tensions with the other young brainiac on his tribe. His pet peeve is dishonesty which tells me he has a strict definition of the word since poker is pretty much based on dishonesty or at least the ability to conceal the truth. I don’t think Garrett will have problems with lying in the context of the game. He’s probably dedicated more time to prepare for this adventure than most of the previous castaways and that makes me think he will succeed. He says that he’s an extrovert that gets along with all types of people so it will be important to see if he is shown as being able to tone it down or if he is presented as a loudmouth. Garrett is already seen as one of the players that could have fit in any of the three tribes and the winners are always presented as multi-dimensional people so he has to be considered as an early contender.

Spencer Bledsoe: I want to like Spencer but we all know that those 2 minutes pre-season interviews are heavily edited. The promo department spends a lot more time getting to know these people so what they put on the air is always telling. What we heard from Spencer is that his pet peeves are incompetent leaders and stupid people voicing their opinions. That makes me expect to see him portrayed as that incompetent leader that talks too much, I could see him presented as the “Dumb Player” on this tribe. Spencer adds that he doesn’t want to sit in an alliance, just hoping that he will be carried to the end, that he is eager to make big moves and loves blindsides. The stage is already set for his own big blindside.

That being said, I hope I am wrong because he says that his favorite survivors are Stephen and Marty which is quite refreshing. He likes Stephen’s cleverness and strategic planning, but notes that his personality is more like Marty’s. He says: “I am a natural leader and can come off as pompous or bombastic.” While refreshing, it’s another recipe for disaster. I don’t think Spencer makes it far but I hope he does. On a side note, Spencer has to be the palest contestant since Dan Berry. Can he stay ghostly white for as long as the spaceman?

J’Tia: J’Tia has it all: Beauty, Brains and Brawn. She’d be my winner’s pick if she wasn’t playing on a season with such an idiotic twist. Being labeled a Brainiac when she’s so obviously beautiful will mean one thing: Jealousy. The other players won’t let her near the end line because they’ll know they can’t afford it. I love her strategy of being there for the others but I was worried at first because she talked so much about the adventure and the experience. It made me fear that she only wanted to last long but didn’t have the drive to win. Then she started talking about being devious and I saw her great potential…if production hadn’t put that huge target on her back. While I see her making the merge, I see her leaving around mid-jury when people realize she’s a winner.

Kass: I’ll be blunt: Kass will be the first boot for the Luzer Tribe. Yeah, Samson could be unable to hide his Napoleon complex, Spencer could show that he is a spoiled brat, the tribe may want to get rid of the African American pair but they’ll put that aside for one vote in order to get rid of Kass…AND she will have deserved it. What a dumb strategy to want to appear weaker than the others. She’ll be on a tribe that is tagged as physically weak so they will be forced to eliminate their weakest link. I mean, the Brawn tribe, like Tambaqui, Lopevi, La Flor and Manono, could eliminate one of their strong guys and still have plenty of muscle left but the Luzers won’t be able to afford eliminating a guy right off the bat. A woman is doomed on that tribe and the one that wants to play the weak card is practically voting against herself. Add the fact that she is the oldest woman and what else should we expect? Her only chance would be to show that she’s the smartest so that she could at least say she’ll help them win the non-physical challenges. Why else keep her?

Tasha: The fact that Tasha was placed on the “Brians” tribe even if she has a fair amount of each characteristics that divided these tribes tells us that production wanted to create their own dynamics by having pre-arranged pairings. While this artificial alignement could help some players, it’s more likely that it will backfire. The tribe won’t want to keep the two African American women together so one will go and that’s probably going to be Tasha. Why? One trait that Tasha has more than J’Tia is arrogance. As likable as she is, I found her very pretentious when she spoke about becoming the leader at just the rigth time, picking the right people to be in HER alliance and already knowing THE strategy to use. This woman who loves blindsides is in for a rude awakening…the kind that you have in loser lodger when the pain of the knife is still fresh.

Solame Tribe

Brice: I was ready to be wowed by Brice because he looks like he’d be a funny guy but his video proved to be a huge disappointment. So he was picked on when he was young, so his older brothers roughed him up. He thinks that will help him in this game? Please! Everything he said made me realize one thing: Brice watched the show but he doesn’t understand the game. It brought me back to my first impression of Brice when I read that he considers himself a lot like Cirie, Colton and Ozzy!!! How can anyone be like those three and not be completely schizo! They are about as different as can be so Brice watched the show, liked some people but really didn’t understand their personality or their game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brice turns out to be Zane v2.0. All show, no substance.

Jeremiah: I like Jeremiah a lot. I’ve seen comparisons to JT, Malcolm and Reynold but, to me, he’s much more like Brandon Bellinger from Guatemala. If Probst hadn’t flipped the game with that ridiculous swap in Guatemala, Brandon would have been very well positioned to win it all and I think Jeremiah can do the same with this group. His intention of making friends is a good one if, like he says, he doesn’t forget that he’ll have to get rid of most of those friends. That is how the game works and he seems to understand that. I don’t really think he’s naïve in the same way that Jay was in One World but, like Jay, I think everyone will want to have Jeremiah on their side which means a likable, hard working guy like Jeremiah can go very far.

LJ: He’s a guy that definitely has it all: Charm, athletism and brains. In Survivor, that’s a triple-threat and to avoid the target associated with that status, he will need to do as he plans: Restrain himself and let others think they are making some of the decisions. However, just listening to his eagerness about solving puzzles tells me that LJ won’t be able to stand back. It will become obvious to everyone that he could win the game. While I see him riding the Solame tribe all the way to the merge and even gaining the numbers during the predictable “Brains vs Muscles” post-merge massacre, I think LJ will be blindsided around Final 5 or 6.

Morgan: She’s proud of having been chosen as a 49er cheerleader and it’s easy to see why she was chosen. The same charm worked with the casting department. No doubt that Morgan can socialize with the other people in her tribe but there’s a big difference between being sociable and having a social game. Not many see the difference and it’s clear that Morgan doesn’t. She wants to hang out and align with the people that are middle-of-the-road and UTR types of players but that would help her only if she could organize that group. In a tribe of 6, she would be better off supporting a strong leader thus creating a strong pair of votes and grabbing a few more to be able to coast until the swap or the merge. Hanging with the UTR players will only make her one of them; a boot waiting to happen. Morgan will make the merge only if she’s lucky. It worked for her “idol”, Natalie Tenerelli so maybe it could work for Morgan. I’d enjoy watching her for the whole season but I don’t think it’ll happen.

Jefra: I found it quite refreshing when I heard her say that she’s a lot like Chelsea. She didn’t even mention Parvati. However, during her video, she shows a lot of confidence about being able to hunt, fish and that she is a fighter which sends all sorts of red flags for me. What if the promo editors focused on that aspect because she won’t be able to survive? I think all that bravado foreshadows an early quit or a medical evacuation. If I’m wrong and she really is that good of an outdoorswoman then maybe we will see her finish as the runner-up. Now that would be hilarious because she finished twice as the runner-up in the Miss Kentucky contest. More likely, Jefra is one of the first few boots.

Alexis: I like Alexis’ personality, the way she leans in and smiles when she talks and I think her tribe mates will like her also…if she is helpful around camp and in the challenges. That will be her first hurdles; if she crosses them then she will go far. We haven’t had many psychology majors playing the game and that knowledge could certainly help. The problem is that her fellow players won’t be sitting on a couch, waiting to be analysed. Will Alexis be able to think quick on her feet? I think so because I see very good potential in Alexis. In fact, I see her in the finale.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 Episodes 1 and 2: Don't Judge a Boo... michel2 03-01-14 1
   RE: Episodes 1 and 2: Don't Judge a... Flowerpower1 03-05-14 2
 Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody michel2 03-08-14 3
   RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody Jims03 03-08-14 5
       RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody michel2 03-08-14 6
           RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody Jims03 03-09-14 8
               RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody michel2 03-09-14 9
                   RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody Flowerpower1 03-12-14 19
                       RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody michel2 03-12-14 20
   RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody suzzee 03-19-14 23
 RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... PepeLePew13 03-08-14 4
   RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... michel2 03-08-14 7
       RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... PepeLePew13 03-09-14 10
           RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... michel2 03-09-14 11
               RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... PepeLePew13 03-09-14 12
                   RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... michel2 03-09-14 13
                       RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Tamoshanter 03-10-14 14
                           RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Agman2 03-10-14 15
                           RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... michel2 03-10-14 16
                               RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Agman2 03-11-14 17
                                   RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Tamoshanter 03-12-14 18
 Episode 4 - Functionning without a ... michel2 03-15-14 21
   RE: Episode 4 - Functionning withou... Jims03 03-18-14 22
   RE: Episode 4 - Functionning withou... suzzee 03-19-14 24
 Episode 5 - It Doesn't Seem Fair michel2 03-21-14 25
   RE: Episode 5 - It Doesn't Seem Fai... suzzee 03-24-14 28
 RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Georganna 03-21-14 26
   RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... michel2 03-22-14 27
       RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Georganna 03-25-14 29
       RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Character... Georganna 04-02-14 40
 Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains michel2 03-29-14 30
   RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... suzzee 03-31-14 31
       RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... Georganna 03-31-14 32
           RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... Jims03 03-31-14 33
               RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... michel2 03-31-14 36
               RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... Georganna 04-01-14 39
           RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... michel2 03-31-14 34
               RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... suzzee 04-01-14 37
               RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... Georganna 04-01-14 38
       RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villai... michel2 03-31-14 35
 Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Sc... michel2 04-05-14 41
   RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... Sheldor 04-06-14 42
       RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... michel2 04-06-14 44
   RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... Jims03 04-06-14 46
       RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... michel2 04-06-14 47
           RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... Jims03 04-06-14 48
               RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... Georganna 04-15-14 52
                   RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... michel2 04-16-14 57
                       RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murde... Georganna 04-16-14 59
 Interjection... Flowerpower1 04-06-14 43
   RE: Interjection... michel2 04-06-14 45
       RE: Interjection... Flowerpower1 04-06-14 49
 Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Ha... michel2 04-12-14 50
   RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... Georganna 04-15-14 51
       RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... michel2 04-15-14 53
           RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... Georganna 04-16-14 55
               RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... Flowerpower1 04-16-14 56
                   RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... michel2 04-16-14 58
       RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Gam... Jims03 04-15-14 54
 And, moving right along ... Georganna 04-18-14 60
 Episode 9 - The Domino Effect michel2 04-19-14 61
   RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect Jims03 04-20-14 62
       RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect michel2 04-20-14 63
           RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect glennyfromtheblock 04-22-14 64
   RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect suzzee 04-22-14 65
       RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect dabo 04-22-14 66
       RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect michel2 04-22-14 67
 Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to... michel2 04-26-14 68
   RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Goin... Tyrone Slothrop 04-26-14 69
       RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Goin... michel2 04-26-14 70
           RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Goin... tribephyl 04-27-14 71
               RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Goin... Tyrone Slothrop 05-02-14 72
 Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not A... michel2 05-02-14 73
   RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... Tyrone Slothrop 05-03-14 74
       RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... michel2 05-03-14 75
           RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... Tyrone Slothrop 05-03-14 76
   RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... Murphy3126 05-03-14 77
       RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... glennyfromtheblock 05-04-14 78
           RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... Murphy3126 05-04-14 79
           RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... michel2 05-04-14 80
               RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... glennyfromtheblock 05-05-14 81
                   RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... RachelOH1 05-05-14 82
                   RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... Jims03 05-06-14 83
                       RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... glennyfromtheblock 05-07-14 84
   RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... suzzee 05-07-14 85
       RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But N... tribephyl 05-07-14 86
 Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make Sens... michel2 05-10-14 87
   RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make ... Murphy3126 05-11-14 88
       RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make ... Tyrone Slothrop 05-11-14 89
           RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make ... Murphy3126 05-11-14 90
 Episode 13 - It's Medication Time michel2 05-16-14 91

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-01-14, 07:52 PM (EST)
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1. "Episodes 1 and 2: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover. "
LAST EDITED ON 03-02-14 AT 06:46 PM (EST)

During Jeff's introduction to the new direction taken this season, Spencer had the 1st confessional: "In 2010, I entered the world open chess tournament and I tied for first. I certainly don’t look diabolical or like a genius, both of which I am.­"

David was next: "I'm president of the Miami Marlins..."

Kass followed: "I'm an attorney and my track record is undefeated. They'll be all: "How cute, there's the mom. They probably don't know that I am more cunning and ruthless than 95% of the population."

Jeff wasn't very nice to the beauty tribe, telling us that they rely on their looks to get what they want.
Morgan had a confessional: "I was an NFL cheerleader an I don't want to sound super conceited but, from a guy, I usually get what I want."
(LJ was shown just as she said this last part, foreshadowing their conflict)
Jeremiah then introduced himself: "I'm a fashion model. I think it's going to help me out as we get further into the game because I am going to win them over with my looks."

It was then Jefra's turn: "I competed for Miss Kentucky. I was second place three years in a row. People label me pageant girl but I believe beauty is going to help me with the social aspect of the game."
(A water buffalo emerged from the water as she said that, hinting that getting to the end of Survivor isn’t only about the social game, that there is a survival aspect to it also.)

Cliff was the first member of Brawn to have a confessional: "...I played 18 years in the NBA. I always played for bread and meat. I don't win, I don't eat. That's what the game of Survivor is about."

Sarah was next: "I'm a police officer and I started mixed martial arts in 2009. Getting paid to punch someone in the face? It doesn't really get better than that!"
(Tony was shown behind her as she said this, suggesting he'll be the recipient of one of her punches)

Tony then had his turn: "I've been a police officer up in Jersey City for 13 years. I'm always jumping over cars, climbing over fences and jumping from roof to roof, chasing people so this game to me should be easy. Knock on wood."
There was symmetry to these early confessionals: Three members of each tribe were given an opportunity to talk. From the Brains tribe, we saw Samson, Spencer and Kass. If symmetry applies then, with Samson being an early boot, we may expect to have been shown an early boot from both the Brawn and the Beauty tribe. The early indications would be that Jefra and Tony would be the early boots but things could go in different directions, with Morgan and Cliff being in trouble. Both Spencer and Kass had nice stories in this first episode but their tribe is in so much trouble that it’s too early to make hypotheses on how the two other members of each tribe will fare, However, being shown early can be seen as a good sign.

Jeff asked us which trait will prove more valuable.

Tasha then had a confessional: "I'm super smart. I have what it takes to win this game"
Alexis was next: "I don't see the guys going: I don't want to vote her off right away. They don't want to look at ugly gals all day!"
Lindsey then spoke to us: "I'm known as the tough brawny girl. When I feel like someone is out to get me, I am going to get you back and I am going to get you ten times harder."

These confessionals told us why these 3 were put on their respective tribes. Interestingly, each of these three will develop have confessionals that narrate the stories of their tribes. I’d say that each will become the representatives of their tribes, not in the game play type of way that electing leaders means but how, in the editors mind, these 3 will play the game.

Spencer was the first to have a second moment on screen: "I will go down as one of the best to ever play and I want to play an awesome game."

That really sounds like a winner’s quote because Spencer will not be shown as being overconfident or arrogant at all.

Jeff gave us his catch phrase from the top of an island, with seemingly no way to get back to the beach.
(At least I was hoping he'd be trapped there for those 39 days but, alas...)

Getting off the Brawns' truck, Trish had a confessional: "I am so excited to start Survivor, I can't even stand it. I am such a competitive person that I would do anything to get to the finish line, to beat you if I had to. It's just who I am."

Suggesting an upcoming rivalry, Lindsey gave us a confessional just as Morgan and Jefra appeared: "When I saw the speed boat race up, the girls were in the front and they were all like: "Look at us!" I was surprised that there wasn't cheesy music in the background."

I think it’s very important to note that the music editors went with Lindsey's wish and gave us that cheesy music. It’s a good sign for Lindsey but not so good for Morgan and Jefra. This season we have twin Cleopatras but I suggest one will go early while the other, like the whole Beauty Tribe, will surprise everyone.

Jefra had a confessional when the Brains landed: "I noticed a few people coming off the helicopter who seemed more of the nerdy type, like the Cochrans of the game. They are going to be really smart and witty and play the game well."

Spencer was the one the cameras focused on when Jefra said this, improving once more the impression that he is someone to like and follow. These two episodes will send Spencer to the bottom of the tribe’s pecking order, already making him the underdog. The groundwork for an awesome game is clearly set but will Spencer be able to pull it off?

The camera focused next on Alexis when Jeff greeted all three tribes and then turned to Lindsey and Tasha.

The same three that we suggested could become the narrators for their tribes are once more united by the cameras. Will those three be joining together at some point? How far will they go? I’d consider them good candidates for long term players.

Jeff first turned to Morgan and Spencer for their impressions of the tribes. Spencer managed to make everyone laugh when he said they were the nerds. Tony then told Jeff he was glad to be considered the Brawn; that they were going to stomp on beauty and smarts.
(Alexis didn't look too impressed)

LJ was designated as leader of the Beauty tribe. He said he was more about the inner-beauty.
The Brawn looked for someone vocal and chose Sarah. Trish told Jeff that Sarah looked confident and could get the job done.
Samson was designated for the Brains tribe. Kass said she didn’t trust a man in a suit but liked David.

LJ picked Morgan as the weak link.
LJ explained it to us: "In my perspective of beauty, there's hot and there's cute. Morgan is hot whereas the other girls are cute. Me, personally, I trust cute more than I trust hot."
Sarah went with Trish while Samson sent Garrett away, shocking Probst who had to ask for an explanation. Samson said it was because he was looking at the end game.
(We shouldn’t be surprised by Samson’s choice of Garrett. That’s what he did with the Expos and the Marlins: Get rid of those that can help you win. He was so certain he was getting rid of Garrett that we have our answer about his knowledge of Survivor: Had he watched Tocantins he wouldn’t have given Garret a shot at an idol so he can't be as big a fan as he claimed. Good riddance.)

Jeff told the three players that the chopper would get them to camp where they'd have a decision to make. He then sent the tribes to their beach, warning them it could be a wet season.
In fact, the rain would start early and, with Jeff’s remark making it on air, we’ll assume it will be quite inclement and that some won't make it, preferring to quit instead of suffering.

We joined the three players on the helicopter with Garrett, saying, in confessional, that it sucked to be isolated from the tribe. He told us he thought Samson was full of BS.

It didn't look as if the three talked at all. I would have tried for an alliance but maybe they weren't allowed to talk. I would certainly ask Garrett, Morgan and Trish if they were ordered to stay quiet during that ride.

Garrett chose to look for the idol. His confessional was all about his brilliance and Samson's stupidity so we can jump ahead to characters that are still in the game.

On the Brawn tribe, Trish was more realistic: "When Sarah had to pick the weakest of the tribe, I looked around and I was clearly the oldest and the thinnest, so I wasn't surprised that it was me...At first, I could hear myself saying: Don't be an idiot and go get that idol for yourself to protect yourself. I've been divorced for 15 years, supporting and raising my children...I've always been a team player...I hope I don't kick myself in the butt later on."

I really think Trish will be kicking herself in the butt soon. If this tribe needs a parental figure, it will be Cliff, not single mom Trish.

Morgan gave us her thoughts: "I was surprised I was voted off first. I feel like I have more physical strength than the other two ladies and I kinda thought I had the guys under my thumb but maybe LJ was tempted by my looks and didn't want me around and mess with his head. That's what I'm good at and maybe he could sense that."
Note that Morgan is entirely right, that LJ chose her because he didn't trust “hot”. Despite sounding conceited, this confessional isn't bad at all for Morgan. The viewers are given an occasion to see that she read the situation correctly.
Her confessional continued: "I hold grudges big time. I will never forgive him for this. This is a game where you have to save yourself so; of course, I am going to look for the idol. I guess I am a selfish person but, if I can find it, it' going to be a huge game changer."

Back at Brains, we followed Garrett's trek for the idol. The music that accompanied him wasn't as heroic as the one we've heard on other searches. It lacked energy so we can say it matched his showing in the game.

We went back to Morgan's search: "...I immediately thought of the huge rock shelf to the right of our camp. There are so many little crevices and nooks and crannies that an hidden immunity idol could be hidden. I don't know when they are going to be here, I don't know how much time I have, I just know that I have to find it."

Just as Morgan started climbing on the rock formation, the camera pulled away to show her tribe approaching. As it did, the music changed, signaling danger. It was meant to make us worry about Morgan, to make us fear that she was about to get caught.

LJ had a confessional: "We arrived at the beach and it was like: Where's Morgan? She was nowhere to be found. It was very suspicious."

Morgan realized the danger: "I saw my tribe mates come strolling up on the beach and my heart just jumped in my throat. I had been outed trying to find the idol. If I don’t come up with something, I am going home for sure."

The first commercial break left us hanging, wondering what would become of Morgan. That was a typical “the heroine is in danger” treatment and if it wasn’t enough to make the audience appreciate her, the next segment painted her as a very quick-thinking person.

That segment started with a very interesting overview of the Solana beach: The 5 members of the tribe were seen in the background walking towards the flag while, in the foreground, we saw Morgan alone, hidden from her tribe mates by the rock formation. We then saw Morgan hurrying back to the beach while we heard her confessional:
"...It was pretty obvious what I was doing. I had already been outed as the weakest person and now I am going behind their back, looking for the idol. I'm done then I realized I could totally lie and say that I chose the shelter material and the fishing stuff over comfort." As soon as she came into view, she yelled out: "I hope you guys liked what I picked." Looking at the rice and tools, they high-fived her. Her confessional continued: "I, for sure, think I fooled them. Now, I have however many days to look for the idol. I'll have to be really sly about it but I don't think they have any clue."

LJ showed us in his confessional that he wasn't completely fooled: "Morgan's already in her underwear just like a mermaid that walked out of the ocean which had me a little nervous because she is way too calm and collected for someone just voted out. She either already has an immunity idol or she has a clue so I have to be on my best behavior. She can be the hot girl with a grudge."

It's very interesting that the title quote of the episode had nothing to do with the boot story. It tells me that the Morgan/LJ conflict could last a while. It could even be an important part of the overall story. Even more noteworthy is that we stayed with this tribe long enough to see that Morgan could also play the game.

She had Brice fooled as we heard in his first confessional: "Morgan was able to provide for us, some good things that boosted our confidence a little bit but I'm no dummy, I know a scorned woman when I see her. So, she was the perfect opportunity for me to use my purple pants and my personality to get in with her."

We see the two start talking, Brice saying he wouldn't have voted her out. He added that the tribe was breaking into pairs, the camera suggesting LJ and Jeremiah being the first pair while Alexis and Jefra was the other.

Morgan (solo): "Me and Brice kinda made a little connection so right now we are sticking together. He’s got my back, we'll see what happens."

We then saw the tribe at work which was narrated by Alexis: "People don't expect anything from us because they labeled us the beauties. They think it's just a tribe full of princesses and guys who are pretty boys that don't want to get dirty."

Working together, Jeremiah and LJ made fire.
It led to a confessional by Jefra: "I'm so excited. We got fire right away without flint which is very hard to do. So, I'm loving our tribe."
Alexis immediately resumed her role as narrator: "The other tribe; there's nothing in their minds that wants to connect the beauty tribe with success but its happening. We can kick butt out here, we are doing it."

We took a short flight over to the Brawn Tribe where the first thing we saw was a hug between Sarah and Trish.
Trish had a confessional: "...I had to get back on equal terms with all of them."
She told everyone that she chose a bag of rice over the clue for the idol. That led to more hugs.

Tony in confessional: "Soon as we arrived in camp, Trish comes with open arms...we were so excited, we were like: Yes, you did the right thing. If I was in Trish's shoes, there would only be one bag of rice and 1 idol in my pocket."

This immediately casts Tony in the role of the villain, the one that will cause trouble in the tribe.

To some happy music, the tribe started working on the shelter while Lindsey assumed the role of narrator for Appari.
Lindsey (solo): "Looking through all my team members, I could tell that any challenge that will have physical strength then we are clearly going to dominate. We have the biggest man out here. Here's like 8 feet tall."

Woo told Cliff that he had a few of his basketball cards.
Woo had a confessional: "Me, being a basketball enthusiast, I immediately knew who that was: Cliff Robinson, Portland Trailblazers. One of my favorite players growing up and everyone seems stoked to have him on our tribe but I don't think anyone is making a really big deal about it."

Cliff (solo): "The fact that I am a former basketball player could hurt me but, to tell you the truth, it doesn't seem like they have any interest in basketball. For me, that's just fine: I can play this game and not worry about my tribe mates judging me for what I did. There just looking at me as Cliff Robinson, one of the tribe members of Survivor."

Along with his opening confessional, this tells us that Cliff can go far in the game, further than first imagined. We expected the merge to be the deciding factor for his longevity and now it seems acquired that he will make it that far…unless an idol gets in his way!

Next, we saw Tony and Sarah together.
Sarah's confessional: "I've been a cop for quite a while and there is a look that cops have and Tony’s got it. If I'm wrong, he should go be a cop because he looks just like one."
Tony lied to her, telling her that he worked construction.
Tony (solo): "I thought for a split second: Should I tell her I'm a cop? No, you know what? If I tell them I'm a police officer the first thing they are going to think is that this guy is strategical, he's tactical, he's probably sharp on his toes, he's very observant and they are going to be right so obviously I'm a threat to them so they are probably going to try to blindside me right away."

Sarah then told him she was a cop and her confessional continued: "Interviews and interrogations are my daily duties and I get lied to every day at work and there's just something that makes me feel uneasy about Tony." He repeated that he wasn't a cop. Sarah went on: "I don't know what he does but I don't think I can trust him so he's got to go as soon as possible."

This rivalry between the two cops is very interesting. As we expected, they aren’t getting along but which one will come out on top? The early impression is that Sarah has the upper hand because she isn’t fooled by Tony’s lie.

We were off to see the Brains tribe where Spencer told us what he thought of Samson’s decision: "When David picked Garrett, I thought, you're an idiot, picking the one guy who could help us in challenges and you're ostracizing him already. It's a terrible move."

When the talk turned to building a shelter, J'Tia told everyone that she was a nuclear engineer and had an idea for the shelter. She quickly turned into a bossier version of Sylvia.

J'Tia (solo): "I have a PhD in nuclear engineering. I think I'm the smartest person here hands down. I'm going to build that shelter. I'm not going to cut the bamboo but I am going to tell them how to build it."

J’Tia’s attitude could have easily sent her to Loser Lodge immediately where shelter would have been provided for her. Maybe that was her plan. I know it should have been theirs.

Tasha had a confessional: "J'Tia took the leadership role and her approach is not the sleekest. She does come off really confrontational and bossy."

Spencer in confessional: "We have J'Tia who is an engineer...she has the decisiveness of a leader, she has the bossiness for sure but she really doesn't have it all here (pointing to his head.)"

Kass had her say: "I don't appreciate her attitude, I don't think anybody does. It makes it uncomfortable."
Samson also commented on J'Tia: "She's just too much."
Right on cue, the base of the shelter collapsed when Tasha gave it a try leading to Kass’ comment: "We're not very smart for the Brains tribe."

The Challenge

During the action, Jeff confirmed that the Brains tribe wasn’t that smart.
The Brawn and the Beauty tribes worked well while the Brains tribe "took the longest to figure this out." It soon turned into a disaster for the Brains tribe who was "falling apart...whatever brain they had had clearly evaporated...One of the worst performances out of the gate in the history of Survivor."
Sarah and Lindsey did the puzzle for the Brawn tribe while LJ and Alexis worked for Beauty who overtook Brawns' early lead. Kass and Tasha didn't have a chance to catch up.
Beauty finished first, Brawn second proving that Alexis was right when she said they were kicking butts.

The Luzer Tribe had a date with Jeff.

Brains - Day 3

We first saw Garrett, Tasha, Spencer and J'Tia talking about the challenge in the ocean.
Tasha in confessional: "...We sucked. I can't blame any particular person. I think it's everyone. We're book smart but when it comes to playing this game, we're dumb."

I'd say that remark applies to more than just the challenge.

Kass and David were talking in the jungle. David brought up his idea to eliminate Garrett instead of J'Tia. In confessional, he once more said he was thinking of Day 39 (!)
Kass was adamant that it should be J'Tia.

Kass in confessional: "David, he wants Garrett to go first but that is ridiculous. He's our strongest guy plus he's a workhorse. J'Tia...she's been doing a lot of direction and no production...She`s deadweight so let's just send her home."

Things really went downhill fast for Garrett who was seen as a workhorse early on but then just stopped working. Still, Kass was right when she said it was ridiculous to vote him out first…and second.

When J'Tia asked Kass for an opinion, the attorney told her directly that she was thinking of voting her out.
An attorney should know that everything you say can be held against you so why tell J'Tia? The cymbal crash underlined this foolish decision.

J'Tia in confessional: "I went up to Kass and she was very honest, saying I don't work around camp and that I am going home. That hurt my feelings a little bit..."

J'Tia talked with Tasha who told her how the others perveived her. Garrett joined them and he reassured J'Tia that David was going home.

Garrett had a confessional telling us why he wanted David to leave even if J'Tia had reasons to be worried. Garrett told the girls he would talk to Spencer.
When he did, Spencer mentioned that he was worried about David having the idol.

Spencer (Solo): "I'm really concerned about voting out David. I know that, in the past, there have been clues about the idol around camp and I keep seeing David and Kass walk off and just wander around...Since J'Tia is a pain in the #####, why not vote her out?"

Garrett told us that he wasn't going to let Spencer know that David couldn't have the idol. It made him worry that he didn't have 4 votes against David.

Tribal Council

It started off on a funny note: Garrett showing everyone that he was afraid of spiders.
Getting down to business, Jeff noticed J'Tia's smile.
She explained that people wanted her gone, that Kass had told her she wasn't working around camp. She told Jeff about the disastrous shelter.
David said he listened to J'Tia because she was a nuclear bomb builder or something.
J'Tia corrected him about her occupation and said she only had a plan for the shelter. Thunder struck just when she told Jeff that she was a relationships person.
Probst went back to David's decision regarding Garrett.
David said it was because he wanted to step up in the game.
Garrett told Jeff that it sucked to be cast as the outsider but that now he trusted his team.
When asked who would she want to see leave the game, J'Tia immediately said David.
Her directness apparently shocked Spencer.
Jeff asked Spencer for his opinion.
Spencer said they had to think about the tribe getting along so he was going with the people he trusted.

After snuffing David's torch (to the cheers of most Baseball fans, I'd say) Jeff told the tribe that he wished the vote would point them in the right direction.

That was hilarious considering what was about to unfold.

Let’s not forget that this wasn’t a 2-hour premiere but two episodes mashed together. Our observations have to rely more heavily on the all-important premiere, that the second episode should mostly serve to confirm the impressions left by the premiere, not change them completely.

Episode 2

It's Spelled J-Catastrophy-T-I-A.

Brains - Day 4

Garrett had the first confessional, gloating about sending David home. The next part told us that Garrett wasn't someone to root for despite his successful blindside. He said: "I'm not having fun playing Survivor....Manual labor isn't fun. Starving isn't fun. Like, it's not a cool adventure for me."

Garrett talked to Spencer, selling him on the idea to go with Kass to boot one of the two girls in their alliance.
Spencer said that the Tribal (Council) put them in the perfect position since Kass didn't like J'Tia.
Garrett and Spencer went for a walk with Kass.
Kass (solo): "Tribal was interesting: A blindside of David and me but all I thought of was I'm number three for someone and they know it. The boys aren't going to break up and the girls aren't going to break up so where does that leave me? Swing vote!" They made a Final 3 pact. Kass went on: "I talked to Spencer and Garrett but I am not 100 % with them. I am going to work whatever angle, I have no allegiance right now. We can do our stupid handshakes, I don't care. It's game on as long as it's not me."

Brawn - Day 4

Cliff had a confessional: "Me and Woo couldn't wait to take that boat out. We've been looking at the boat for a few days now, itching at the bit, wanting to do some fishing. I like Woo and you have to have a wingman. Batman always had Robin. Jordan had Pippen. Cliff has Woo! Ha-Ha-Ha! You take your wingman and do what you have to do to take care of business."

Since the next thing we saw was the boat capsizing I think it's evident that this "Dynamic Duo" will make us laugh but won't be really successful.

Cliff's confessional went on: "Everything was going well but we lost balance on the boat."

Sarah had a confessional: "Cliff is a very likable guy. He's funny, he has a lot of charisma and I'd say he's the most liked on our tribe."
Tony, of course, had a different opinion: "I look at Cliff and I can't tell you on which Basketball team he was on or what he does for a living because I don't really care. Then we have Lindsey, Sarah and Woo. Apparently they love him. They are fans of his." Lindsey confirmed this. We heard her telling Sarah that she thought Cliff was fantastic. Tony's confessional continued: "This is a game, I know how the game is played. I just have to make sure I know what's going on."

Although Tony was in the minority, this confessional would soon take a sinister turn for the tribe's favorite.

The scene ended with Woo saying that their first mission failed.
That isn't a very promising quote for the tribe.

Beauty - Day 4

Brice had a confessional: "Today is definitely beautiful on the beautiful tribe but there are a lot of people playing dumb out here. (Alexis was shown playing bowling with LJ, using a coconut and some bamboo pins. She missed but laughed about it.) Alexis is just being the flirt out here. It`s definitely all about her sexuality, always in her panties and saying: "Do you want some coconut water?" I definitely see her game. Jefra on the other hand, I don't know what her game is." (Jefra was heard asking if people were urinating regularly, saying she only went once a day. That could be the first sign she will need to be evacuated.) "All the crayons in her crayon box aren't bright."

We then saw that Alexis wasn't the only one flirting. Jeremiah told Morgan that she was very cute in her bowling socks.

Morgan had a confessional: "Jeremiah, I only see him as a friend in my eyes but he might see me as something more. I think that if I needed to, I could reel him in and he'd be right there in my back pocket."

Consider the juxtaposition of these two scenes: Cliff talked about the pair he formed with his wingman Woo and how that has proven to be very powerful in comics, Basketball AND Survivor and now we have this other pair: Morgan and Brice. While Cliff and Woo failed in their first mission, Brice and Morgan appeared to be much more successful in theirs. He has his eyes on how the other girls are playing while she is reeling in the other guy, knocking him out of his game. This pair could prove to be the "Dynamic Duo" in this game.

Brice had another confessional: "Jeremiah has been drooling over Morgan and me being the ultimate wingman, I can facilitate for him to kind of get to work with Morgan and be around the hot girl."

The trio talked around the fire and Brice got Jeremiah to admit that both of the other girls were getting on his nerves.
Brice said they should be the brains of the operation. Jeremiah hoped that they could trust him.

Brice had another confessional: "I think when my tribe first saw me, they thought I'd be like the 4th girl on the tribe and I would be lying around all day. Don't judge a book by its cover because I am playing the game."

Brawn - Day 4

Trish had some firewood in her hands and she told Lindsey that there was plenty more to bring back to the shelter.
Lindsey took offense at being singled out.
Sarah told Lindsey to calm down, that she was alright.

Lindsey had a confessional: "Trisha, she needs to chill out because I can't stand her voice, I can't stand her attitude, I can't stand the fact that she is so judgemental." Lindsey proceeded to do quite a good but unflatterring imitation of the woman from Boston.

Trish joined Tony on the beach, telling him Lindsey was just kissing Cliff's #####.
Trish in confessional: "I think everyone is starting to see what I see; how Lindsey doesn't help at all and how annoying she can be around camp. I'm from Boston, Mass. She hasn't met me yet. If I really snapped on her, she’d still be crying."

Trish looked almost crazy when she said that so I don't think many viewers will be pulling for her in that fight with Lindsey.

Trish and Tony formed their own power duo.

Tony (solo): "I trust Trish because she is a genuine person and she's busting her ##### too while everybody else is full of drama. Trish and I, we are walking on eggshells with these people so that's why I came up with the idea to see if I could spy on them. As I'm building the shelter, I'm acting like I am trying to protect them from the rain and everything but I am building a spy shack. I'm trying to cover up a little cubbyhole in the I'll be listening to all what they have to say and I am going to hear everything. So, whatever useless Cliff tells weasel Woo, I'm going to know crucial information. That is the key to all this. My main target is Cliff, the lion of the pride. In order to take over the pride, the other lion has to come in and kill that one and then he has to kill the cubs. I have more brain than brawn, little do they know."

Since Cliff wasn't shown to be useless, I don't think Tony's plan will work anymore than it did for Boo who also tried to build something in order to spy on his tribe mates. On the other hand, Tony is showing us that he is more than just Brawn but no one else sees it so it could work out very well for him. Tony’s story is still hard to read.

(Why did it have to be Tony using one of Boo's old tricks? Wouldn't have been better if Woo had been the one to copy Boo?)

The Challenge

When Jeff told the other two tribes that David had been voted out, the biggest reaction we saw came from Sarah.

She must have realized that the Brains had gone after their leader so it must have been quite disturbing for her. For us, I consider it a good sign that we saw her reaction because it connected her to the viewers, making them feel what she felt.

For the swimming challenge, Brawn and Beauty decided to leave the two African American men on the bench.

Of all the comments Jeff made, the most important one was: "The Brains tribe continues to work well in the water, led by Garrett."
Then J'Tia started working on the puzzle.
Jeff mentioned that Sarah and Tony had cuts on their hands and feet.
Sarah did the puzzle again for Brawn and she made quick work of it, leading her to say: "Are they still working on the puzzle? I think I'm on the wrong tribe, Jeff."
LJ did the puzzle for the Beauty tribe and he quickly passed the inept J'Tia.

When Jeff handed the idol to Morgan we heard her say: “LJ, it’s all you.”

Brawn – Day 6

A happy tribe came back to camp where Tony and Trish were quick to recognize that they owed their victory to Sarah, the puzzle queen.

Sarah in confessional: “Today we went to the immunity challenge and I sliced my finger wide open. Tony sliced his foot like a dumbass and there’s blood on the puzzle but, I don’t know, that’s the Brawn tribe for you. That’s what we do: Blood, sweat and tears. We get the job done.”

Tony (solo): “Today we prevailed. We won some fishing gear, we won the whole works…It’s a beautiful thing. The first thing that popped in my mind was that there had to be some kind of idol or a clue to an idol in that basket. I open the tackle box and I see a little piece of paper in there…I put it in my pocket and this is what it looks like.” He read the clue and figured it had to be in their pond behind camp where there was a big log. He raced to get it and it didn’t take him long to find it. His confessional continued: “…I found it. This is huge. I needed this. I don’t need to tell anybody about the idol. It’s not going to benefit me in any way to tell anybody about the idol because that will only give them leverage to sneak attack me and I don’t want that. I’d rather sneak attack them. So that idol; nobody will know about it. I’m the king of the jungle. I’m the king of the jungle!”

Note that the music was much more rythmic and amplified during his search than during Garrett’s which makes me think this idol won’t be wasted. It would seem that Tony will play it to save himself but who will get booted by it? His quote about being the “King of the Jungle” will have some comparing him to Earl who claimed he was the King of Fiji but I don’t see it that way. Tony was already presented as an arrogant player whereas Earl was presented as being much more humble before his words on top of the mountain.

That being said, many will put a lot of importance on the fact that we went to see the Brawn tribe after they won immunity but it was mpstly about Tony finding the idol. It had to be shown so I put less weight on this editorial choice except for Sarah’s chances. She got the recognition for her performance and a confessional to tell us about it, making sure the audience remembers who was the puzzle queen. We were also reminded that she and Tony got injuries which is always nice to incorporate in the winner’s story.

Brains – Day 6

Garrett had a confessional telling us that J’Tia was the best option to send home.

Sitting with the others, he asked if they wanted to have a hundred side discussions or decide as a group.

In confessional, he said it was to force Kass’ hand and we heard him asking for her thoughts.

Kass said she had to vote against J’Tia because she was slow on the swim and slower on the puzzle.

Spencer agreed but wondered about the open forum idea.

Tasha said she wanted to talk but Garrett insisted on being open and agreed they needed to win challenges.

Tasha insisted on talking to people individually.

Tasha in confessional: “I absolutely love Survivor and now that I am here, it’s frustrating to play with people that don’t want to play the game. I look forward to scheming and back-stabbing but apparently I’m being told no. It saddens me.” Even when Tasha said she wanted to talk to people separately, Garrett held his ground about staying together. When he said he didn’t want to scheme she yelled out: “Then quit.” Tasha’s confessional continued: “I don’t know why Garrett thinks he is the authority at Luzon. He is not the leader of this tribe…He’s always hungry and now he doesn’t want to play the game. This is Survivor. If you didn’t want to play the game the way it should be played then get out of here. Get out of here!”

To the tribe she said that this was really silly.

To be honest, Garrett was playing the game since he already had worked to get Kass’ vote against J’Tia. This vote should have been a no-brainer but, like Jeff would say, this is the oddest tribe ever. Tasha certainly wins some editing points, appearing to be a savvy player but where has her move left her and the tribe?

J’Tia had a confessional, mocking Garrett: “The tribe had me sit down and told me: “We’ve been reviewing your file and we think you have to go. I’ll tell you in front of the whole company. Yeah, right. What in my personality made you think that was going to work.”

Spencer also had a confessional: “Like the Survivor genius he is, Garrett decides to have an open forum on what we are going to do later at tribal Council. Garrett: You’re an idiot. What are you doing? You are a first class grade A moron in Survivor. Why would you do that? It would have been so easy to just tell J’Tia what she wanted to hear but now that Garrett put it out in the open we have to babysit these girls and make sure that they go home.”

Note that Spencer’s comments are equivalent to Tasha’s but he still understands that J’Tia had to go. It was the only way to save this tribe.

When Tasha went to the ocean to talk with Kass she told her they could flip the game, promising her that J’Tia would be the next to go but that they should act now when they have the numbers.

Tasha (solo): “If they don’t want to scramble, I’m going to scramble for them, trying to switch this game up. I’m not trying to go home next. I have to work my way to the top. Why can’t I be top dog? I can make it happen.”

Just then, Spencer and Garrett came to join them, leaving J’Tia alone. Kass immediately sensed a problem.

Sure enough, J’Tia told us that she was going to go out like a crazy woman, She added: “They left the mental patient alone and I went crazy.”

She quickly poured all the rice over the fire. “That’s what happens when you leave crazy people alone.”

If J’Tia was acting the part of a crazy women then she did a perfect job, even creating the right gleam in her eyes and a truly sadistic laugh. The problem is that I don’t think she’s that good an actress, that it was real. Like Spencer would so accurately say in his voting confessional, the fact that J’Tia has access to nuclear material makes her attitude genuinely scary. What will she do if she thinks she’s about to get fired from her real job? The one good thing about this vote is now J’Tia will have to suffer because of her own idiotic behavior.

The tribe realized that almost all the rice was gone.

In confessional, Garrett told us he had just hit rock bottom.

Kass had a confessional: “How did we come up with the criteria for Brains? I’d like to see that data because, ironically, I was going to approach J’Tia about turning this around but then I get back to camp and she has poured all of our rice on the fire. I can’t align with someone like that?”

And yet she would…

Tribal Council

Spencer told Jeff about the open forum discussion.

Tasha explained that they were candid about where they lost the challenge. She added that she wanted to talk to Spencer and Garrett but was denied.

Jeff asked Garrett for his reasons.

Garrett said it was to prove to Kass that they were working with her.

J’Tia said she got very upset when Garrett started calling all the shots. She added: “I wanted to hurt Garrett. I threw the rice into the fire.”

Tasha said she wanted to talk privately because J’Tia was volatile. She said: “I knew that we were heading down the wrong track with this one.”

Jeff accurately pointed out: “You guys are responsible for telling her she was going home. There’s a reason why blindsides work: It’s not because they are fun, it’s because they are effective.”

Garrett said he didn’t want to mastermind everything but J’Tia replied that he basically put her over his knees and spanked her ##### in front of everybody.

Wouldn’t it have been more accurate to say that she put herself in that position when she stepped up to do the puzzle? It’s really sad that we never heard how that decision was made because it would have been very interesting to know if J’ia had insisted on doing it or if they had delegated her. WE have to remember that Kass said J’Tia took the keys away from her in the first challenge and consider that J’Tia must have insisted on doing the puzzle. If so, shouldn’t she have accepted the consequences a bit more gracefully?

Garrett found J’Tia’s characterization very unfair.

Jeff asked Kass for her position.

Kass said they were too paranoid, that she was only washing her feet with Tasha but that paranoia made Garrett and Spencer come down to the water.

The editors had shown us that Garrett had reason to be afraid because Kass and Tasha weren’t only washing their feet.

Tasha told Jeff that her game was being stiffled. “How can you play Survivor when you can’t have conversations?”

Garrett explained that Tasha was upset simply because J’Tia was her closest ally. He went out to reveal the alliance he had with Kass and Spencer, shocking Tasha and J’Tia. He tried to backtrack when confronted but Spencer told Jeff that was right. Garrett put his foot in his mouth even deeper when he lied about Kass approaching them.

It was time to vote.

Garrett’s face when he showed his parchment was very funny but Spencer’s comments were right on the nose.

When Jeff asked for an idol, Garrett stayed silent.

(We would later find out he hadn’t even brought it to the council. That, for a poker player, is the equivalent of going all in before the cards are even dealt.)

Spencer and Kass had an interesting exchange after Garrett walked away:

-“Who wants to welcome me to the bottom?”

- “It’s not so bad.”

Jeff first sentence was accurate: “This is the oddest tribe I’ve ever seen.” Then he added his usual crap: “If there is anything good that came out of this Tribal, it’s that it appears that you are finally learning how to play the game.”

Hadn’t they already showed they knew how to blindside people when they sent Samson home?

The Story

An early theme was that Beauty will be underestimated, that no one expects much from that tribe. The fact that they finished 1-2 in the first two immunity challenges after letting us hear that theme is a very good sign for that tribe. The other main theme was that the Brains tribe isn’t really smart. Can anyone from that tribe emerge as our winner?

As for the players, it seems that the main Theme goes along the lines of “People don't expect anything from us”. The winner will probably have to hide that he or she is more than just beauty or just strength or just smarts. The ones that are obvious double threats should get targeted just like Garrett. Besides Alexis giving us that Theme, we also had Tony saying he had to hide the fact that he was smart. I think we will be rewarded in our search for the winner if we look for those players that can fool their rivals, the ones that don’t look like double or triple threats to others.

As for the characters, I think we need to note which players were given confessionals in the opening sequence. For that purpose, we have to define when the opening segment ended. It had to be when Jeff said his catch phrase of “39 days, one Survivor”.

We had, in order: Spencer, David, Kass, Morgan, Jeremiah, Jefra, Cliff, Sarah, Tony, Tasha, Alexis, Lindsey and it ended with Spencer

The Characters

The Late Arrivals:

Along with Garrett, these 5 didn’t have confessionals during the introduction:

J’Tia: Considering she was a lot worse than Na’Onka, we can say that when a Survivor’s name has an apostrophe, it will turn into a catastrophy. Even Tasha said she knew she was going down the wrong track with “that one” so why is she still there? The crazy woman can’t stay for much longer.

Trish: Designated as weakest by her leader, mocked by Lindsey and shown in an unflaterring light by the editors. (the maniacal laugh when she said she’d make Lindsey cry) All these factors make us say that things don’t look good for Trish. She has no allies besides Tony but he said he won’t be telling anyone about the idol. She will probably kick herself in the butt for not having the idol in her own pocket. Just like she was afraid would happen.

Woo: We can still call him Who because we’ve barely got to know him. His confessional was only about being a fan of Cliff’s, not about his plans about the game. He told us that his first mission failed so his future doesn’t look very promising.

LJ: For a pre-season favorite, LJ certainly had a lackluster edit. He didn’t get a confessional before being designated as leader for his tribe and then he fixated solely on Morgan. He helped make fire and he was a key player in both immunity wins but, except for a quick comment by Morgan, his exploits weren’t underlined at all. That isn’t a good sign for the leader of Beauty.

Brice: Of all the people that didn’t get an introductory confessional, Brice showed us the most promise. He is a savvy game player and may already have the numbers in the Solana tribe to get rid of the two girls that he doesn’t like: Jefra the unknown and Alexis the flirt. He quickly got Morgan on his side and used his abilities as wingman to get Jeremiah on board. If he is such a good player then why wasn’t he presented immediately? That’s the question regarding his edit.

The Players with Opening Confessionals:

Some were only for Show:

Jeremiah: Of all the players that received an opening confessional, Jeremiah had the least amount of airtime in the first two episodes. We heard he was close to LJ, he made fire with him but we never heard the two talk. On the contrary, all we saw was Jeremiah hitting on Morgan and then asking her and Brice to trust him. Will he vote with them instead of LJ? It seems the best way to get Jeremiah’s initial vote would be to target the two girls that “get on his nerves”.

Jefra: She didn’t fare much better than Jeremiah, her main contribution being about her trouble urinating. The pre-season videos had presented her as an outdoorswoman and that had made me worry about her chances to survive. Considering that her first confessional was only about her social game instead of her survival skills, that she is now worried about her health and that the previews show her feeling miserable, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see her boarding the boat to leave the game. She may have told us about the winner though when she compared Spencer to Cochran.

Cliff: He had more airtime than the the first two but it wasn’t very valuable airtime. A star like him will always get airtime and his good nature got him inside the tribe’s alliance but we still know nothing about his game except that Woo is his wingman. Even that appears more to help him during the adventure than to play the game.

Some were Narrators

Lindsey: She had some funny moments but we were told that she isn’t working very hard and only interested in being with Cliff.

Alexis: After a very good first episode where she was shown much more than what was necessary to the overall story, Alexis became only the flirtatious girl in episode two, the one that paraded in her underwear and laughed along with LJ. Was that to show she could fool even someone as observant as Brice? The premiere tells us that Alexis should go far so let’s wait before we make any kind of judgment on her story.

Some were Real Players:

Kass: Although she pulled off a big blindside, we cannot forget that Kass wasn’t presented as a very smart layer. She is simply too honest to play this game. On the other hand, the “nice mom” could be her act still. By surviving the first few votes despite brutal honesty maybe she now has the opportunity to be that ruthless and cunning person she claimed to be. Kass’ story is very intriguing but I wouldn’t expect too much from her… and maybe that’s just what she wants!

Tasha: She proved that she could take over the leadership of her tribe as she said in her pre-season interviews but what type of tribe is she leading? I mean, did she mean she wanted to be like the captain of the Titanic? History tells us that even a doomed tribe can see a couple of its players go far and Tasha was still presented in a very positive light so she has a chance. The editors couldn’t hide the fact that she was close to J’Tia so it was impossible to separate her from that craziness but will Tasha be able to survive the mess that she created?

Tony: He is a difficult one to peg. While he could be an early boot because he didn’t gain Sarah’s trust and he is now on the outside of the tribe’s main alliance, we spent a lot of time with Tony and heard all his big plans. He could still leave early because those plans could blow in his face but I don’t think he will be the first to go from this tribe. He is very well positioned regarding the theme of being more than just Brawn and he says he will keep his abilities secret so, if he does, he could be very successful.

Sarah: Next to Brice, Sarah is the player that most surprised me during these first two episodes. She is much more fun to watch in action than on her presentation videos. With her ability to read people and to complete puzzles, Sarah could have been on the Brains tribe like she told Jeff. However, we aren’t sure that is exactly a good thing in this story. Talking about Garrett, Samson said that being built like a Mack truck and having muscles also was too much of a threat and Garrett is now gone. Being designated the leader and being obviously smart as well as strong then maybe the target is already too large on her back. For now, it seems the main theme is to be able to hide your ability to be more that what you were cast for, not about telling Jeff that you are on the wrong tribe.

Morgan: Despite being designated as this season’s version of Cleopatra by Lindsey and as weak by LJ, Morgan proved to be quite ressourceful, finding a way to make her tribe believe she chose provisions for them instead of looking for the idol. She wasn’t seen as weak in any parts of the two challenges so that will probably not become an issue. In fact, after that nice showing in the first episode, Morgan was one of only two members of Solana to have a confessional in episode 2. That confessional was about getting Jeremiah under her thumb so we are looking at a very dangerous player, one that could go far…if it doesn’t all blow up in her face. The choice of music and the camera work during her search made me think the editors want us to be on Morgan’s side and pull for her instead of the guy who judged her too quickly.

Spencer: He was already designated as the Cochran of the game and he promised us we’d see an awesome game. The editors separated him as much as possible from his idiotic tribe. He wasn’t the one that voted to keep J’Tia after the second TC but he still told us that Garrett was being a grade A Survivor moron. We have a guy that is on the bottom from a story perspective but he is clearly the most valuable member of that tribe. The Luzer Tribe looks destined to go the way of Saboga and Matsing but Spencer is their most likely long term player. In fact, with his early confessionals and Jefra’s seal of approval, he has to be considered the early front runner to win the whole thing. It would make for an awesome story.

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Flowerpower1 175 desperate attention whore postings
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03-05-14, 08:14 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: Episodes 1 and 2: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover. "
Great read, michel. As always your observations are spot on. I remember last season when all of the couples got confessionals. I distinctly remember that Tyson had very few confessionals, probably the least, yet he had a very strong presence in the first ep.

Interesting that you have 3 brains, 2 brawns, and 1 beauty in your "real players" list, when the brain tribe started out so very poorly. So, will they learn from their previous behavior? I like Sarah, but Tony...not so much. Morgan is definitely a player and she certainly has tools!

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-08-14, 02:58 PM (EST)
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3. "Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
Thank you for your comments FP, as you will see below, things have changed now that Luzon stopped Luzing. Other players have emerged, more complete ones.

The Recap:

Jeff said: "At the beauty Tribe, LJ was suspicious of Morgan...
...while Morgan suspected she and Brice were up against an alliance of 4: LJ and Jeremiah and Alexis and Jefra.
They went to work on recruiting Jeremiah (we hear Brice saying that country folks have to stick together)

Meanwhile, at the Brawn tribe, Tony hit the ground running, finding an idol and manipulating his tribe.
(We heard his lie to Sarah about being a cop)

At the immunity challenge, the Brain tribe continued to self-destruct, blowing a huge lead and losing their second challenge in a row.

Back at camp, things got worse: Garrett decided to hold an open vote but it backfired.
At tribal Council, the women decided that strategy was more important than eating so they blindsided Garrett, leaving Spencer as the odd man out.

The first thing noteworthy was that Morgan received more credit for the alliance she had with Brice and Jeremiah. Jeff named her as the one that realized the need to get protection from LJ’s alliance. Since Brice is now gone, we understand why Morgan got the credit. It suggests that she is safe for a little while.

As we mentioned last week, LJ got no credit for making fire and performing well in challenges so I wouldn’t invest too much on his long-term prospects.

Over at Brawn, Tony was the only one to get positive comments from Jeff. Granted, we saw Sarah completing the puzzle while the Brains tribe struggled, but we are led to believe that Tony is the player to watch. Tony is getting some major investments from the editor while Sarah is being “manipulated”.

For Luzon, while last week we saw that Tasha was the one that imposed her strategy, we were told this week that it came from “the women”. Nothing was mentioned of Tasha’s crucial role, Jeff focusing much more on Spencer’s predicament. Like we thought after those two episodes, Spencer is the only one on Luzon with a chance to make the end game.

Don’t Trust Nobody

Brains - Night 6

Spencer (solo): "Tribal Council was a train wreck. Garrett was bad enough at the game that the women were willing to choose someone that destroyed all of our food over him. It's just crazy. I'm definitely the odd man out right now so I'm going to have to resort to all kind of creative, crazy ideas just to have a shot at this thing."

Tasha told Spencer that she would have voted against J'Tia if Garrett had just let them have some private conversations.

J'Tia in confessional: "I clearly came into Tribal Council thinking it was me going but it was a lot of luck, a lot of Kass. This tribe is pretty much a complete disaster but it's entertaining so we'll see what happens."

The “lot of luck, lot of Kass” comment was nice to hear. Players need luck to go far in this game so if Kass is going to be associated with luck maybe she can last a while.

Tasha in confessional: "I’m still pissed about the rice, I am still pissed at J'Tia but I have no loyalties to Spencer and I'm going to do my best to get Kass on board for an all-girl alliance."

Kass gave us her thoughts: "I honestly didn't know who I'd vote for when I came into Tribal but then you take Garrett; he's fun to look at but you don't want to play with him. Then I thought J'Tia's got a temper but you can replace rice and now she's scared so I think she will be loyal to me."

Hearing Tasha and Kass say that they could go girls all the way could be a major theme this season. Survivor Cagayan has already made the record book, being the first season to see three men leave in the first three votes. The women already have a 9-6 advantage and, looking at the big guys on the Brawn tribe, the women from all three tribes could decide to use that advantage. However, we have many men that have strong edits. The women of Luzon are in trouble while most of the rest have been qualified as lazy. There are still a few women contenders but it seems that the threat of an all-women’s alliance will be used to create a male underdog story.

Brawn - Night 6

Tony had a confessional: "I don't trust anybody here. They are against me and I'm by myself; me, myself, my idol and I. Now there's four of us! I was sitting by the fire, all by my lonesome, then Sarah comes over and I tell myself: Let me just give her something and see what happens." He proceeded to tell her is in fact a cop, that his wife is also a cop.

Sarah had a confessional of her own: “You know people say they have a "gay-dar" well I have a "cop-dar". I can tell who cops are and Tony's a cop and I knew it from day 1 and he finally told me. I felt like I won the lottery! Gosh, I knew I was right." The two formed an alliance that Tony dubbed: "Cops-R-Us." Sarah's confessional continued: "Now that I know Tony's a cop, we got that blue-blood going and cop blood runs thick and he is loyal to cops and you better believe that I am going to stick by his side. We are going to be partners in crime."

Tony went on to tell her about "something he heard", making up a lie about Cliff and Lindsey targeting her.

Tony in confessional: Ì told Sarah about a conversation that took place between Cliff and Lindsey but that was a lie; that was a total lie. I just told her I heard stuff just so I could get her on my side. To me, it means nothing. You can swear on your kids, your family, your dead grand-mother, it doesn't matter to me. It's just words."

"Partners in crime” is a rather odd choice of words for an all-cop alliance! That scene really sounded like something that would fit in well at the reunion, when Sarah can tell us how she felt when she finally learned that Tony wasn't being honest with her. However, can this alliance survive all of Tony’s lies? We must admit that those lies have been well served and it will be tough for Sarah to get to the truth. If she confronts Lindsey and Cliff, they will tell her that they never targeted her but that won’t prove anything because they’d say the same thing if they were. She will need all her interrogation skills to get to the truth.

The rain really started falling then and we stayed with the Brawn tribe. We saw that the rain was taking its toll on almost everyone.

(The following paragraph contains information about upcoming weather reports from last summer in the Philippines so, if you don't want to know, skip to the next one)
What we saw this week was tropical storm Isang. Two more Tropical storms will pass a bit more to the south of their location but wait until the last week of the season when Category 4 Super Typhoon Labuyo hits them almost directly. It could get really ugly.

Trish had a confessional: "This is the most miserable experience I've ever encountered. It's either a monsoon or a hurricane. We are so wet. All we've got is this little spark that I'm desperately trying to keep alive. We're basically screwed."

Tony said the sun always comes out in the morning.

We came back from commercial still with the Brawn tribe.

Aparri is quickly looking like the tribe of interest. Part of the reason is that they are a fun tribe and Tony is truly a big character. It’s too early to say for sure that the winner is on this tribe but we have to keep this information in mind and see if this pattern continues as the season unfolds.

Sarah and Tony were shown trying to work despite the dire situation while Cliff and the others were just huddled in the shelter. After a while, Woo came out to join them.

Woo in confessional: "The rain is gnarly, it's treacherous, it's freezing, it's pouring, it's terrible but this is what Survivor is all about baby! Hopefully it will die down here shortly. If not, it's going to be a long night."

Tony made the best of it, drinking the water as it poured down from the shelter's roof.

Tony in confessional: "I haven't been dry for more than a couple of hours. Non-stop rain, it's really bad for morale. We are all miserable. This is what I envisioned hell to be like."

Lindsey wasn't handling it well: "This is the most ridiculous situation I've ever put myself in and I just wish I hadn't."

Sarah (solo): "I'm sitting there and I'm looking over at Lindsey and I do not feel bad for her because I was sitting with Tony last night over by the fire and he gave me tidbits about Cliff and Lindsey having a conversation about me so that immediately just set me off."

Tony told her once more the lie, adding some details: Trish was going to be voted out first, Lindsey said she really liked Sarah but Cliff said they could get rid of Trish at any time. That Sarah was the smart one. The two reaffirmed their alliance.

Sarah's confessional continued: "He knows I'll be loyal to him. I know he'll be loyal to me. We shook on it again today. It's the most sincere handshake you'll ever have in your life so I trust him 100%."

Tony had another confessional: "No matter what you tell people, you can't trust them. You can't trust nobody here. None of them and I'm sure they don't trust me."

Tony has the best attitude for this game: Do your best to be trusted, but don’t trust anyone. It should carry Tony far ... if Sarah doesn't uncover his lies. As for the rest of the tribe, this scene definitely killed Lindsey’s story. We heard she didn’t want to be there so there will be no way to redeem her in the eyes of the viewers. (I know that we heard Jenna threatening to quit in the Amazon, but that was an exception to the rule that editors will do everything to make the winner look good. They really had no chance of making Jenna likable as soon as she didn’t get along with the deaf girl. Here, Lindsey is aligned with potential fan favorites Cliff, Woo and Sarah) Surely, that sentence would have been cut out of the episode if Lindsey was going to outlast in this “ridiculous situation”. Note that the scene wasn’t much better for the silent Cliff and Trish who told us she is screwed. Fire is life and she is already down to a spark so how far can she last?

Beauty - Day 7

Jefra was feeling miserable in the rain and was wondering where all the flies were coming from.

(Note to those who keep track: Both Jefra and Morgan were seen with flies on them.)

Jefra in confessional: "I feel like I'm in a Survivor nightmare. Last night we had a terrible storm. Our clothes are completely drenched...We've been soaking in water for almost 24 hours now. We stayed up all night long, we haven't had food, we haven't had anything because we can't make a fire. Reality set in and it's really, really hard."

LJ in confessional: "Unfortunately, Jefra is doing a lot of complaining, not a lot of doing. I know what that means: Jeremiah and LJ, go on. Repair the shelter. It takes a lot of work to get by when you're surviving and I guess the stereotype of beauty is starting to come into play. These girls don't do anything. I mean, they are on some sort of other planet...This is one situation where I got to keep my mouth shut because I don't want to put any bull's eyes on myself."

This scene may very well end any chance that Jefra had of winning. In Micronesia, we noted that Parvati was never heard complaining about the weather. In her opening confessional she had told us that she wasn’t returning to Survivor to be miserable that she was there to win the million. Even when all of her tribe was huddled in the cave feeling miserable, Parvati was always shown smiling. In Samoa, Mick and Jaison complained endlessly about the rain and we always assumed that Natalie must have said something about it also, but we never heard a negative comment from her. That was a big part of the reason we knew she’d win.

LJ mentioned all the girls so maybe he also ended Alexis and Morgan’s chances, but we never actually heard them complain so we will keep them in the running.

After finishing the repairs to Jefra's partial satisfaction, LJ had another confessional: "We're wet, we're soaked and we're not going to get dry anytime soon. My mind is always running and, on the first day, when I voted out Morgan and we showed up at camp, she came from around the reef, the rocks. The fact that she was there for no reason; she must have gotten a clue, So I figured that maybe I'll just take a peek. Maybe I can find the Hidden Immunity Idol.” We saw him looking for the idol in the pouring rain. The music was quite subdued the whole time with just a couple of cymbal crashes to highlight his surprising find. His confessional continued: "Who the hell finds an immunity idol in the middle of a typhoon but this guy? That's why I found it. I've grown up on hard work pays off. You reap what you sow and now I hold a piece of this game. It's priceless. I'm keeping this a secret. No one is ever going to know that I have this thing until I play this thing."

The choice of music to underline a great moment in the game was a little disappointing. It makes me wonder if this idol, like Garrett's, will go to waste. Already, by keeping it a secret and letting his alliance split the votes, he almost cost Alexis the game. It wouldn't be the first time that a wasted idol didn't receive much attention from the orchestra. Then again, maybe this goes with LJ's low-key character. He got the job done and so did the musicians, accompanying him in a lightly rhythmic music, nothing more.

With small crabs inviting us over, we joined Spencer and Kass as they found a little Buddha inside tree mail.
Tasha read the announcement which, for once told them clearly what to expect in the challenge and for reward.
(One of the writers is getting lazy...)
J'Tia said she was gonna eat rice.
(now that's funny!)
Tasha (not finding this as funny as me) had a confessional: "J'Tia dumped out about 95% of our rice but now she's asking how much rice should we cook. Are you freakin' kidding me right now? It's ironic. It's a mess around here. We have an impending challenge, someone could possibly go home and my first inclination is: Let's practice. The focus is wrong and I feel they are looking at me like I'm crazy."
She threatened Spencer, saying he’s one that should really want to practice.

Spencer (solo): "It's weird being the only guy in the tribe. I have to be patient; I have to manage my emotions. I can't get too down and take my shot to get out of this tribe alive."

This confessional goes to the perceived theme that the men will be underdogs and will have to do everything they can to get out of the game alive. Will Spencer be that man? Maybe but we still have other contenders…and a new one that hasn’t even showed up yet.

With Spencer and Tasha starting it off, the tribe went through training camp, practicing with coconuts in the ocean accompanied by "The Blue Danube" by Strauss!

What should we make of that choice of music? The Brains tribe would still suck at the part that they practiced to the classical master piece but they eventually finished second. I think we were being told that the Luzon tribe has reached harmony, that they won't go back to TC.

The Challenge (A comedic interlude)

Jeremiah had the biggest reaction when Jeff announced the surprising outcome of Luzon's TC.

Before the season started, when we heard how the tribes would be divided, we asked, mostly as a joke, which type of challenges could they possibly design for the Beauty tribe. We underestimated the imagination of the challenge designers, never thinking they could come up with what amounted to a wet T-Shirt contest. As expected, Morgan knew what to do (!) and she managed to fill Solana's bucket with tips ... I mean water, faster than anyone else. That's when the problems began for Solana: LJ and Jeremiah never figured out the maze so Brawn quickly caught up to them. Then, even if some of their exchanges were pathetic, (The Danube must have gone almost dry) Luzon caught up. At least, they changed something, letting Spencer and Kass do the maze instead of J'Tia. As Jeff said, they were working well together for the first time. It was fun to see their explosion of joy when they beat Solana for second place. J'Tia jumped on Spencer who later gave Tasha a hug that swept her off her feet!

J'Tia's redemption story started when the camera focused on her tears of joy just before Jeff started handing out the idols.

Returning from commercial, we went once more to the Brawn tribe first.

That reinforces the possibility that this is the tribe of interest. And, once more, it was a scene that featured Tony and Sarah (although Sarah was simply taking the role of narrator).

Sarah in confessional: "We killed the challenge again. We know how to keep our composure when we are under pressure in a competition. We have the tarp, we have the comfort. It's insane. I feel like a brand new person. Like; bring on the rain."

Tony: "When we brought back the comfort items… I said to myself; there might be a potential clue in there or an advantage of some sort. My brain is ticking while theirs is not I guess. I don't know what's going on with the rest of my tribe mates but the first thing I am saying is that I got to get my hands on everything. I took the hammock to the side just in case something fell out. I open it and a little piece of paper that looked like a clue fell out to the floor. I immediately put my foot on top of it, looked around; nobody's there. I bent down and put it in my pocket...It didn't pertain to anything I needed; I already have the idol but I wanted to make sure that if there was anything in there, if there was a clue in there if there was an advantage of some sort, I wanted to get my hands on it. I didn't want nobody else to see it and that's what I did."

Tony set up the hammock but it broke as soon as Sarah tried it, sending her crashing to the ground. Having said she wanted to see her fall on her #####, Lindsey got a big laugh out of it.

Was this shown to symbolize that Tony's action will cause Sarah’s fall? It certainly looked that way. Should we believe Tony when he says the rest of his tribe is not thinking enough about the game. On the surface, he is right but we can’t forget that he could be in for quite a surprise.

Beauty - Day 8

The scene started with a couple of baby birds being fed by one of its parents.

We had a very similar scene during Redemption Island where three little chicks were chirping because they were hungry. Since it had been shown just before a scene from Ometepe, we knew it represented Andrea, Natalie and Ashley who were vying for Rob’s attention, depending on him to survive. Here, we also saw a big lizard (Reptiles were seen in Luzon during the premiere) that looked very hungry as it lurked around in the trees. That's not a good sign for Alexis and Jefra, the two women that have been shown depending on LJ and Jeremiah.

Jefra told Morgan that she did a good job with the water but the spirits were down as we saw when LJ said they didn't get the job done.

Alexis in confessional: "Out here, you have so many elements hitting you at once. We were just in the middle of a hurricane, we lost the challenge, we're so exhausted and now, we're going to tribal. I think the energy on our beach is going to turn really dark. It's going to get super negative and suspicious."

Before that though, LJ asked if anybody was ready to go home. No one took him up on the offer.

At least we don’t have any quitters.

LJ, in confessional: "Tonight, we have to finally go to Tribal, it had to happen eventually. Jeremiah, myself, Alexis and Jefra are on the same page. Between Morgan and Brice, the one that I have to worry about is Brice. He seems like he's going to be tough towards the end of the game. It's a better move to make a move on Brice now."

I wonder what suddenly made LJ consider that Brice was more dangerous. Did Jeremiah have something to do with it? He could have told his ally that his other ally was more of a schemer than Morgan.

In response, Brice also had a confessional: "I do worry that the tribe may come together and say that maybe Brice isn't a physical threat but Brice is clearly a social threat. They may target me but I trust in Jeremiah and I just want to make sure that we are on the same page to get a girl out tonight."

Taking a walk, Brice and Jeremiah compared notes.
Brice said he was thinking Alexis and asked Jeremiah if LJ had said anything.
Jeremiah admitted that LJ was targeting him.
Brice said that LJ would target Jeremiah right after.
Jeremiah said he didn't know about that but agreed to vote against Alexis.

Morgan in confessional: "LJ thinks he has an alliance of Alexis, Jefra, Jeremiah and himself but, in reality, Jeremiah's with Brice and I. Tonight, for the vote, we just got to get Jefra in there with us to make that a 4-2 vote."

When Morgan told Jefra that they should vote out Alexis, Jefra proposed voting for LJ instead.
Morgan replied they needed LJ to win challenges.
Jefra was all surprised to hear that Morgan had talked to Jeremiah.

Maybe Morgan should have gotten Jeremiah to talk to Jefra before she did, just sayin'. It was very interesting however to hear Jefra mention LJ’s name.

Jefra (solo): "Morgan and Jeremiah and Brice have an alliance and are going to be voting for Alexis tonight. What is going on? Is Jeremiah with me, Alexis and LJ or is he with Brice and Morgan? People are throwing out strategies I never heard of before. I mean it's just absolutely nuts. I am not very excited about tonight because I think somebody is really going to get blindsided."

It appears that Jefra never talked to LJ or Alexis about what she heard from Morgan. Considering that and her offer to go after LJ, is it possible that she could still align with Morgaon to go against their leader at a later Tribal Council?

When Jefra told Jeremiah of all "the crazy stuff" that she heard coming from Morgan, Jeremiah denied it and said he was still good to go with Brice. He added: "Are me and you still...?"
She said yes.

Jeremiah has a side deal with "Miss Kentucky runner-up 3 times". Counting Morgan, that makes two girls for Jeremiah but he looks like a guy who could have more than a girlfriend at a time. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the two of them.

Jeremiah in confessional: "Jefra does not want to vote out Alexis. Brice and Morgan are voting Alexis. I'm kinda, I'm stuck."

Just before commercial, we saw Alexis walking up to Jeremiah and Jefra. We'd soon learn that she had a plan. A plan that could have gotten her voted out!

The last segment started with the lizard apparently getting closer to the baby birds while an ominous music played in the background...The lizard is already in the Beauty tribe, ready to pounce on the weaker members.

Alexis proposed splitting the votes, convincing Jefra that here was no danger in doing so because they'd simply re-vote and put all their votes on Brice.
Alexis explained in confessional: "Maybe Brice or Morgan has an idol so what we are going to do is split the vote. The two boys are going to vote for Morgan while the girls vote for Brice. If either one plays an idol then a tie equals a re-vote and we'll all vote for Brice."

In confessional, Jeremiah (the lizard) told us this was his time: "There's always a fear of this idol being played. If I can get my majority to agree to make a split vote, we could have a three way tie and it would put me absolutely in the middle." LJ came to join the three and, in order to keep his secret, he agreed to the split vote while Jeremiah went on: "If I go with Brice and Morgan, I could get rid of Alexis. My main goal is to take over this tribe and I'm going to have the numbers tonight is what I am really hoping on."

Brice went to Jeremiah once more, pleading with him to eliminate Alexis.
Brice, in confessional: "I'm not worried tonight because I do trust in Jeremiah and Morgan and I feel that Jefra feels way more comfortable with Jeremiah then LJ so alliances are going to be exposed and people are going to be put in their place."

Putting him on center stage, the editors gave us another confessional from Jeremiah: "I got a big decision on my hands tonight. I can go with LJ, Alexis and Jefra or Brice and Morgan. Going into Tribal Council, knowing that I have all the power is an amazing feeling but I'm just a country guy, I don't like to hurt anybody's feelings and after I make this vote, somebody's feelings is going to get hurt. Somebody's probably going to lose their trust in me and that is probably going to hurt me more than anything."

This confessional was heard mostly in voice-over while the camera showed us Jeremiah putting on his shirt. The picture told the story: Here we had a man getting ready for business. The question is: Did Jeremiah accomplish what he wanted? On the surface, he didn't because he went with LJ's side where he is just one of 4. But look at it this way: If he had gone with Brice and Morgan, he'd be their third. What if he was looking at another plan? We know he has a side deal with Jefra and we know that she wasn’t totally against the idea of voting for LJ. If he can repair his relationship with Morgan (she won’t have many other options) then he'd be at the head of an alliance of three in a tribe of five. He would have taken over the reigns of the tribe from LJ and kept them away from Brice. If he can manage that, he will have shown us great skills.

Tribal Council

Morgan simply told Jeff that she liked the looks of her tribe. Then she was attacked by a bug.
Brice said he was excited about being on the Beauty tribe, that he was at the butterfly stage of his life.
Jefra said that the first few days were like a big party but that the storm changed their attitude and their momentum, leading to their loss. She added that everyone was becoming paranoid because "up until this point, nobody that I was aware of, was talking strategy."
(When one is not aware of strategy being played it's usually being played at their expense but not this time as Jefra was never the target. She’s just naive)
Brice told Jeff that everyone was concerned but that there had been talks around camp.
Alexis and Jefra looked shocked to hear that!
Brice went on to name the pairs: LJ and Jeremiah and Alexis and Jefra. He added that they were sometimes seen in a foursome, leaving him and Morgan out. Brice also said that Alexis hadn't talked to him about the game so he was pretty sure she was gunning for him. When asked if he was voting against Alexis, Brice said he felt everyone should pull their own weight around camp (... as Jeff underlined)
Alexis looked very uncomfortable.
Asked if she was pulling her weight, Alexis said Brice was using that as ammo to get her out.
Brice said that they had talked about idols, adding that Morgan was the main focus of those talks.
When Jeff turned to her, Morgan, calm and collected, said she thought she knew how things were going "If things go the way we planned it today."
Jeremiah, who had been strategically positioned between the two alliances, looked concerned at this, as if this was more than he hoped Morgan would say.
Jeff turned to Jeremiah, asking him if he knew what was going to happen.
Jeremiah played it cool, saying: "It's going to be tough. I think I know where it's going but it's going to hurt, it's going to suck but it's Survivor!"
Alexis looked really worried when Jeff sent Morgan to vote.

The way the votes were shown, we knew that Alexis, Jefra and LJ had gone with the split vote, meaning all the power was in Jeremiah's hands.

When Jeff revealed the votes, we saw that Jeremiah had stayed with LJ after all, leading to a tie where neither Morgan nor Brice could vote. Like Alexis planned, Brice got all three votes and was sent packing.

Jeff sent them back to camp by saying that they had their first taste of how the game is played. He asked: "How quickly will you recover?"
After briefly showing Alexis who still looked unsure, the camera showed us the trio of Jefra, Jeremiah and Morgan, suggesting those three will be the ones to recover quickly.

The Story.

As pointed out earlier, we had three men leave the game in the first three episodes for the first time ever. We also heard talk about an all-women’s alliance on Luzon. That alliance could easily spread to the whole cast with a swap or after the merge. Like Spencer, the men could soon find themselves in the bottom, but we heard that it isn’t that bad in the bottom. We think that we will have an underdog story where one man will make a comeback and overcome the women’s majority.

Which one will it be? Jeff gave us a big clue in the opening segment, saying that the players will have to draw from the three main traits that make for a good player. David and Garrett left because they weren’t very smart even if they were on the Brains tribe. Brice had the social game associated with the beauty tribe, but he couldn't stay under the radar. LJ was quick to figure out that he’d be dangerous when they got close to the end. We continue to think that we have to look for a player that will fill all three categories, but that won’t be seen that way.

This episode also told us a lot about trust and how it applies to the game. We were clearly told that you shouldn’t give your trust to anyone. Brice and Morgan trusted Jeremiah and so did Alexis and LJ. The first two got burned while LJ probably still doesn’t know that the one he probably sees as his closest ally almost eliminated the only one that is truly aligned with him. Will this season really have a great schemer as its winner? The stage has been set for it.

The Characters.

The One Dimensional Players.

J’Tia: Does she even qualify for one of the traits needed in this game? Her actions are certainly not smart and she has no friends out there. She will need luck and some challenge wins by Luzon to stay in the game. Luzon’s new found harmony, symbolized by Strauss’ music, could get her to the swap where the women’s number advantage could protect her. The editors already started her redemption arc, letting us hear that she is good for entertainment and showing her tears of joy after the challenge.

Lindsey: We haven’t been shown anything from Lindsey that indicates she is the full package. Maybe she is strong but she certainly doesn’t have the social game or the smarts. Now we know she sees herself in a ridiculous situation and wishes she wasn’t there anymore. We clearly see the end of her story.

Alexis: She continues to be Solana’s narrator but we heard that she doesn’t pull her weight around camp. Her plan to split the votes worked, but we saw that it almost cost her the game. Therefore, we can’t say she’s really smart. As narrator, Alexis could last a while, but she doesn’t look like our winner.

Trish: She showed more toughness during the storm than Lindsey but she still said she was screwed. Her relative isolation in the tribe shows that she has limited social abilities and we haven’t seen her doing well in challenges so, for now, Trish isn’t part of the group of players that can draw from all three traits.

Jefra: Like Lindsey, she had a lot of trouble handling the conditions and she couldn’t stop complaining but she wasn't ready to simply quit. We also heard that she was unaware of all the discussions going on around camp. Still, Jefra has an important role to play because she has a side-deal with Jeremiah and suggested voting out LJ. How will she handle that situation? Will she be able to break away from her friend Alexis?

The Players with Two Dimensions:

Woo: Besides being a martial arts expert, we saw that Woo is very well liked by his tribe. The viewers will also like him after he showed he could handle the tropical storm. The problem with Woo’s story is that we have yet to see any game smarts. Of course, Aparri hasn’t gone to Tribal Council yet so maybe he will step us his tactical game but he really doesn’t look like the type of guy that has any idea about long term strategy. His story, pictured by his words during the storm, seems more like live for the moment.

Cliff: Like his wingman, Cliff hasn’t shown us any type of strategy besides getting the group to like him. In Survivor, being well-liked is usually a reason to get voted out. It was very troubling to see that the famous basketball player didn’t get a single confessional even if his tribe was heavily featured.

Kass: J’Tia’s good luck charm had a quiet episode but she was a big part of Luzon’s first “non-loss”. Her problem is her social game where her need for honesty has proven to hurt her already. Not every truth is good to reveal and one would think it applies even more in this game. The self-proclaimed cunning person couldn’t lie when she had to. Maybe she will learn or rather remember her original strategy.

Tasha: We’ve seen that she is smart even if that wasn’t really reinforced in the way Jeff recapped the episode. Tasha’s main problem will be her social game because her need to strategize is known. Very few players will trust her going deeper in the game. Kass immediately wondered if Tasha would burn her even if she went with them. In this game of trust, Tasha has earned very little and it was all because of her own actions.

Morgan: We have been shown some good social game from Morgan in the way she talked to LJ. Her strategy to get with Brice and Jeremiah almost worked but it seemed like she made a mistake by talking to Jefra before Jeremiah had a chance to do so. She revealed too much and so she lost her closest ally, the one that had her back. She could still recover by going with Jefra and Jeremiah (the format of 6 players in a tribe gives a lot of power to the outsider, doesn’t it? As soon as one player goes, we wind up in a situation where 1 person can hold all the power.) and we’ve seen some hints that this is the way the Beauty tribe will go.

The Three Dimensional Players. These are our top contenders:

LJ: He showed a lot of resolve and intelligence when he found the idol, but his trust in Jeremiah could have cost him his only true ally. Seeing Jefra and Morgan talking together made us wonder if LJ made a mistake in thinking that Brice was more dangerous. It would seem logical to think that Jeremiah would have more trouble convincing Jefra to go with Brice if he was still there. Now, the Jeremiah, Jefra, Morgan trio seems like a natural pairing. Will LJ see it coming? His game depends on seeing through Jeremiah’s plan.

Spencer: He is still in the same position, but Luzon’s new found harmony should get him to the swap where he will find a way out of this predicament. His story is in a holding pattern until we see how the swap treats him. A likable guy that has no allies should come in handy for a group in need of a vote and Spencer is smart enough to see that.

Tony: Here we have a high wire act that made a big splash on our screens. He said he liked Hantz so he must be happy to see he is getting almost the same amount of airtime. We are truly seeing the game in Aparri through his eyes and it looks like we are seeing a juggler that has many plates spinning at the end of sticks and he’s trying to keep them all from falling. Will he be able to do it? It all depends on being able to keep Sarah in the dark about his lies. If she does stay true to the “Blue-Blood” alliance then it could work. However, Sarah is heard talking about throwing a challenge so we have to wait until we see who is her target before saying that Tony has her fooled. It would be funny to see the one who admires Hantz getting the boot after his tribe threw a challenge!

Sarah: All of her story depends on the identity of her target when she suggests throwing a challenge and how the editors present this radical strategy. It’s rarely a smart idea to throw a challenge before the swap (the one exception could have been to boot Hantz but even that didn’t work). If she is targeting Cliff, it will be disastrous for her edit and probably for her game also. It would tell us that she has been totally fooled by Tony, opening the door for his run to the end. However, we see her talking to Woo, Cliff’s wing-man, so that makes us think she’s probably not talking about eliminating Woo’s “idol”. If she has uncovered Tony’s lies, if she has stopped trusting him, then we are in for a great episode.

Jeremiah: He really emerged in this episode to become an important player. We have to remember that he had an opening confessional where he even told us he was looking to use his looks further down the line so maybe we shouldn't be surprised that he took his time before bursting on our screens. Of course, he could be a one-hit-wonder like Caleb last season, but he showed us great potential. In this episode, he gave us a great moment, the opportunity to watch a player quietly positioning himself to take over the reigns of a tribe. Like I mentioned above, going with Brice would have given him all the power. On the surface, he stayed with LJ so he doesn’t appear to have taken over the power, but he has the votes to take it away from the horse trainer as soon ashe feels the time is right. Jeremiah was symbolized by that lizard slowly making its way towards the small birds and a free lunch. Without making as much noise as Tony, we see that he isn’t giving his trust to anyone but that everyone trusted him. Now, he clearly needs to repair his relationship with Morgan, the hot woman with a grudge, but what choice will she have? Jeremiah looks like the type of guy that has learned to deal with an angry woman.

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03-08-14, 11:06 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
LAST EDITED ON 03-08-14 AT 11:10 PM (EST)

Good observations, michel. I agree with your general observation, although I might handicap them a little differently. I'm really into this season, so I'll add a few comments.

I'm really into thinking about how specific people would be edited if they were the winner, so I'm going to approach it from that angle.

Unlikely Winners

J'Tia - The only way J'Tia could be our winner would be if they were building a huge redemption story, kind of like an extreme version of Holly's arc from Nicaragua (although she didn't win). It's extremely unlikely, however, that J'Tia could live down the rice-dumping incident to win a jury vote at this point, so I'm writing her off.

Alexis and Jefra, if they were the winner, would likely get either the Parvati or Natalie White treatment by the editors. Neither of them are actively being shown as being the mover or shaker at the Beauty tribe; they're not portraying it as "Look at how good Alexis is at wooing L.J. and Jeremiah." While I think Alexis has a better shot of getting a Natalie White edit (because of her narration), there isn't enough focus on her actual rhyme/reason to justify her winning at this point. Given this tribe, there's still the sneaky possibility of a Fabio edit... But even Fabio got the "I'm not that dumb after all" treatment, which these two aren't getting.

Lindsey practically got the "quit" edit this week, which is pretty horrible for her chances. What's also troubling about Lindsey's edit is how the narrative has almost completely shifted to Tony/Sarah. Lindsey seems like a larger-than-life sort of person, so I would at least expect them to have her weigh in on what others are doing. Sort of like a Tyson or Sandra edit. But nothing for Lindsey.

Woo is getting the "sidekick" edit, combined with the Ozzy "adventure" edit, which is a recipe for disaster. If this is a situation like Sophie's edit, where the focus is on their relationship with their "goat", then it doesn't make sense. Because at least with Sophie, we got POV confessionals ("Brandon sucks! Cochran actually is annoying!") whereas Woo is just along for the ride. The edit could improve this week, but not liking it so far. I could hold out hope for a Chris/Sarge kind of edit here, but probably not.

Trish had a pretty solid Episode 1 with how the clue decision was portrayed but really fell off the map. If Trish were the winner, I would expect a little more of the Tom Westman "I gotta adapt to these kids" kind of thing. Like I said with Woo, if she were the winner, we'd be seeing her weigh in on Sarah or Tony a little more, which we're not.

Probably Not

Cliff, I'm not sure what kind of edit he would get if he were the winner, given the stunt casting. Maybe a J.T. all-around-awesome kind of edit. Agree with michel here, no confessionals at all is a bad sign for him.

Morgan, I'm a little more down on. I'd definitely expect a Parvati edit here, but they portrayed Brice as doing all the dealing. Morgan took a total backseat this week, and didn't even get the Spencer "point out how bad my ally is" deal. I think it's definitely possible Morgan is a major player this year, but I don't see it coming together for a win. She seems more Sugar than Parvati to me.

I think Kass actually had a great Episode 1 & 2. It's always suspicious to me when they have what I could consider "the boring person" be our POV person. Even when she would do stupid things, there wasn't a whole lot of "Wow, Kass sure was dumb, there!" confessionals. That's a mark in her favor. However, I think her story might have peaked in Episode 2. There was absolutely no emphasis on where Kass goes from here.

Tony is getting too much of a character edit for me to believe he's the winner. He'd be getting the full-on Boston Rob treatment here if he wins. But I don't think he's getting a strategic enough edit for that. There isn't any "I got Trish eating out of the palm of my hand" kind of stuff. It all revolves around the thing with Sarah so far... Maybe it's just a start, though. The most encouraging thing for him, ironically, is the #CopsRUs Twitter hashtag, which recalls the Coconut Bandits from last season.

LJ, I'm a little down on too. Just a little. What's disappointing about his edit is how little they focus on his relationships with others... There should be at least some focus demonstrating how he keeps Alexis/Jefra/Jeremiah with him, even if it's Jeremiah making the final decision. He should be getting the Tom or Tyson edit where it's demonstrated how he saved his alliance in a close vote.

Likely Winners

Jeremiah got more of a swing-vote edit (for obvious reasons) and less of a winner edit this week. But there isn't anything in particular that makes me want to rule him out. If he were our winner, I would expect a sort of solid, Ethan edit from him, and that's what we're basically getting so far. We'll see what happens when the strategic story stops revolving around him, whether he'll disappear or if he'll still be our framing device.

Tasha might be getting a Denise edit, portrayed as a "smart" player in a tribe of dunces. Even though they failed horribly at the water part of the challenge, the point is that they made the effort to emphasize that Tasha was on Team Practice instead of Team Loaf About. They also emphasized her link to Spencer (as adversaries) so the winner of that showdown is our Brains front-runner.

Spencer, I like the most out of the Brains because he's getting the total Tyson edit, as expected for a cocky and snarky guy like him. Portray him as playing nice with people, but laugh at them in confessionals. Look at how they let him distance himself from Garrett's stupidity at the beginning of Episode 3... It wasn't Tasha saying, "Spencer was dumb for aligning." What I don't get about Spencer's edit so far is that, if he truly can be this arrogant, why are they treating him with such kid gloves? It's very suspicious. He's obviously in a bad position right now, but if he gets out and then gets established in an alliance, this thing might be over.

Sarah is still the favorite for me, although I'm having huge red flags in Episode 3. The back-to-back confessionals about her trusting Tony 100% and then Tony flat-out saying she shouldn't, is a really bad sign. If this thing turns around on Tony pretty soon, I'm writing it off as being story-necessary. But if she becomes a victim of Tony's lies, that's bad news. Before then, she was getting a very Danni sort of edit. Smart, very perceptive, well-liked by her tribe. Her sniffing out Tony reminded me a lot of how they portrayed Danni/Gary.

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-08-14, 11:49 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
Thank you jims and it's really nice to read your pbservations. I think we are mostly on the same page. I'm a little less enthusiastic about Tasha's chances mostly because of the recap where Jeff credited the women for their strategy, not Tasha but I could be reading too much into that.

I like your comparison between Sarah and Danni. There is a major difference though because Danni and Gary got to trust each other while here we have Tony setting up to simply use Sarah's trust.

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03-09-14, 00:13 AM (EST)
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8. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
Thanks michel. I'm really bullish on this season so far and your detailed analysis inspired me to write up something.

I'm a little less enthusiastic about Tasha's chances mostly because of the recap where Jeff credited the women for their strategy, not Tasha but I could be reading too much into that.

Yeah, I noticed that too, but it's so early on that I feel like Jeff is more apt to speak in generalizations about the whole group. After the merge, I always feels like his singling-out becomes super-transparent.

I do like Tasha's chances a lot, but my intuition is giving me a bad feeling about her. My suspicion is she might be getting a "good player, but got screwed by numbers" kind of edit (like Tracy in Micronesia). I think there's definitely something there with her and Spencer, though. It's a relationship to watch.

I like your comparison between Sarah and Danni. There is a major difference though because Danni and Gary got to trust each other while here we have Tony setting up to simply use Sarah's trust.

That's a good point. Like Danni, they used the whole secret identity thing to highlight Sarah's perceptiveness, but it really comes down to where the story goes. Sadly, Episode 3 was teasing that it's spinning into a Rob C./Matt scenario (where one party is just "using" the other's trust), which would be an awful turn of events for Sarah from an editing perspective.

Although typing that out makes me wonder if, even if the story continues in this direction and Sarah still wins, maybe we're gonna see a revenge story at the very end? Matt obviously bit Rob in the end, so maybe Sarah will do it too (in a more social/strategic way).

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03-09-14, 00:28 AM (EST)
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9. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
We'd be extremely lucky to have a storyline as rich as the one we had with Rob and Matt. For me, the best part of that story was how Rob got Matt to think they had to act like spies, having him relay secret information to Butch.

While I think Sarah will figure out Tony and that's why she will talk of throwing a challenge, she could be acting under Tony's influence and targeting Cliff. For some reason, I keep hearing Jeff at the reunion asking Sarah how she felt when she realized Tony had her completely fooled.

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03-12-14, 06:42 AM (EST)
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19. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
Sarah from the start has seemed very bright and has alot going on for her socially as well. She's a smart cookie. She is bonded with Tony because he came to her and fessed up about being a cop, which she's delighted about. But, there is a chance that Sarah could identify Tony later as a possible goat. As long as he's around there will always be a bigger target than herself. Smart.

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03-12-14, 06:20 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
Sarah is smart but she is being edited as being gullible, juxtaposing her confessional of believing in Tony with his own where he says no one should trust him and that no one on his tribe is thinking.

The only way to reconcile these two "Sarahs" is if she finds out about Tony's lies very soon. If she doesn't then I feel she is condemned to lose to him.
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03-19-14, 08:31 AM (EST)
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23. "RE: Episode 3 - Don't Trust Nobody"
I'm intrigued by the idea of an all female alliance with a side order of male underdog. I see Kass and Trish getting together after the real merge if they can last on their new tribe dynamics. There seems to be plenty of boot fodder to keep both of them around.

I wonder if the luck factor will play heavily. The dissolving into two tribes may bring this out and change the remainder of the game.

Now that we've had the mini-merge it will be interesting to see whether the girls will start to gel and who will gain a lucky advantage.

Thanks for your great insights Michel, I do enjoy your perspective on the seasons.

Suzzopolis by Tribe

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03-08-14, 10:51 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
Why do we have two threads dedicated to the characters and editing of the show? I know this one is titled 'The Characters and their Stories' but it's essentially the same kind of info that is being discussed on VerucaSalt's thread - a thread that we've had every season for a full decade now.

Wouldn't it make more sense to consolidate things into one thread, especially in light of the reduced activity on this site?

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-08-14, 11:53 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
I started the thread because Veruca hadn't posted anything and it was getting close to the start of the season. It seemed like we wouldn't have her thread this season because of that log in mess.
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PepeLePew13 25228 desperate attention whore postings
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03-09-14, 12:43 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
LAST EDITED ON 03-09-14 AT 01:01 PM (EST)

Right, but she did set up the thread, so why not consolidate all discussion on there as it was getting more replies before yesterday? It's the thread that people from outside of this place know about.

For example, before your thread even had one reply, Tribe posted an analysis of Episode 1 on 2/28 (he was the third of four to post on there before yours even had one, which was you replying to your original post) and you posted your analysis on this thread a day later, then invited Tribe to read your thoughts. That would have been the perfect time to consolidate threads.

As a result, the discussion is now becoming scattered all over with useful thoughts split on two different threads.

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-09-14, 03:42 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
Once you move to your own place, you don't want to go back to your parents' house. I will be making my posts here and I welcome everyone to make contributions. All comments based on how the show is edited will be appreciated and I will take the time to respond to them.
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03-09-14, 03:55 PM (EST)
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12. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
*checks off "not a team player" ... got it.*
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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-09-14, 05:14 PM (EST)
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13. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
You're entitled to your judgment but I have exchanged and collaborated to most of the threads here. For me, that means being a team player.
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03-10-14, 10:35 AM (EST)
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14. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
Interesting, Michael, but I couldn't help but do a double-take over this one:

"Now, the Jeremiah, Jefra, Morgan trio seems like a natural pairing."

Is this akin to the mythical determination of trying to square a circle?

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03-10-14, 12:10 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
I couldn't help
but do a double-take over
this one:

"Now, the Jeremiah, Jefra, Morgan trio
seems like a natural pairing."

You beat me to it!

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-10-14, 08:07 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
LAST EDITED ON 03-10-14 AT 08:08 PM (EST)

I only wrote it that way to get you out of lurkdom!
...and to get agman to post of course..

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03-11-14, 10:07 AM (EST)
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17. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
And it worked like a charm!
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03-12-14, 00:43 AM (EST)
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18. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
At least you seemingly had a good reason for trying to fit trios into natural pairs. Unlike the Survivor producers who have committed the ultimate abomination of trying to fit F3 into F2.
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03-15-14, 12:38 PM (EST)
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21. "Episode 4 - Functionning without a Brain "
The Recap

Jeff said that this season has been anything but predictable.
On the Brawn tribe, Tony went from playing alone to building several different alliances...
(We saw him talking to Trish and Sarah)
... Even lying to a fellow cop to get his way.
(We heard Tony explaining that he was lying to get her on his side)

The Brain tribe was a disaster...
(Kass asking for the data that showed they were smart)

For the Beauty tribe, nothing could go wrong ... But at the immunity challenge, everything changed.
For the first time, the Brain tribe didn't lose ... and the Beauty tribe lost their first immunity challenge.

Facing Tribal Council, Jeremiah was caught between two alliances: Alexis, Jefra and LJ and Brice and Morgan.
(Jeremiah shown saying only: "I'm stuck")

At Tribal Council, he sided with the numbers ... voting out Brice and leaving Morgan all alone at the bottom.

A plaintive note was heard when Jeff said that Morgan was all alone.

Hearing Jeff say that Jeremiah was caught between 2 alliances and then having Jeremiah say "I'm stuck" told us immediately that we had been wrong in hoping to see a smart player. The choice of words is always capital in analyzing the recap and, while Jeff could have said that Jeremiah was weighing his options and we could have heard him repeating his "I want to take over the tribe" line, the editors instead chose to present him in a much more negative light.

On the other hand, we were right about LJ and the build-up that is terribly missing from his story. We weren't even reminded of his great play to find the idol!

It seems that the player to watch on the Beauty tribe is Morgan and we were meant to feel for her being now that she is alone once more. We can say that she doesn't have a winner's story, but it seems certain that the hot girl with a grudge will have her revenge on the two men that hurt her. Like Sugar in Gabon, she will probably decide who goes to the end, at least as far as her original tribe mates are concerned. Either LJ or Jeremiah will regret winding up on the same tribe as the “Hot Girl with a Grudge” after the swap.

For the others; the members of the Brains tribe were put down again while Tony was the player that mattered on Aparri. This episode reduced the number of contenders greatly.

Functioning Without a Brain

Beauty - Night 9

We heard Alexis say that she was "emotionally paralyzed."

Morgan had the first confessional: "Tribal did not go as planned. I'm pretty mad and frustrated. Jeremiah is just a little coward and he just chickened out. He came to us and then, all of a sudden, he jumped ship so there's a huge possibility that I am the next to go. I guess I just got to save myself."

She figured that the way to do so would be by throwing Jeremiah under the bus, asking him in front of everyone what changed his mind.
He could only say he had been with LJ, Alexis and Jefra first, that he had given them his word and that Brice was a huge threat because he was good socially which scared him.

Jeremiah in confessional: "Morgan confronted me in front of everybody. My heart sunk because she asked me what changed my mind right in front of everybody which is fine because, you know, it's Survivor you know. It was a major decision for me tonight, it was a nerve wracking decision so we'll see if I made a bonehead play or not."

His bonehead play actually came next when he left Morgan in the shelter with the others. She promptly apologized for voting against Alexis and followed that with a lie, saying Jeremiah was on a witch hunt against LJ, that she stopped that idea because they needed LJ in the challenges.
LJ really reacted when he heard that Jeremiah was on a witch hunt, gunning for him.

Alexis had a confessional of her own: "I'm skeptical about what Morgan is putting out there, that Jeremiah was the one that planned to get me out, but the way she says it sounds a little bit realistic. So I got to keep my eyes open for him. Jeremiah, I don't know, I think he put a big target on his back at this point."

While it would have probably been more productive for Morgan to talk with Jeremiah, to see if they could still work together, the way her attack on the male model was presented showed her once more as a smart player, figuring a way out of a big jam. As for Jeremiah, his story died as quickly as it began. The dumb as rock coward will never take control of any tribe and he will most likely fall victim to Morgan's revenge.

Brains - Day 9:

Survivor must have fired their Tree Mail "Powet"

While we would laugh at the dumb invitation

The messenger had enough imagination

To create a lot of confusion

About the upcoming competition.

(See, it's easy to be bad!)

The message gave Tasha the opportunity to be the coach again but this time the scene ended with J'Tia missing the stick that was at her feet.

J'Tia had a confessional which was pretty ironic considering how the episode turned out for her: "... We are trying to build on our winning streak (First time that ONE non-loss is called a winning streak!) We are trying to show that we are actually a tribe that can play the game."

The Challenge:

Alexis, Cliff and Coach Tasha were the callers.
Some interesting comments from Jeff:
- Great team work from the Beauty tribe
- Brain just made a costly mistake
- Tony waving his arms wildly

Beauty finished first while J'Tia's panicked at the end, opening the door for the Brawn team’s "huge come from behind win".

We had an interesting scene construction though: Spencer was shown throwing his buff to the ground in frustration followed immediately by Jeff saying: "You never give up in this game."
Considering Spencer looked like he’d be toast as soon as Luzon lost immunity, it seems that the scene was presented to show what will happen at the end of the season. If Spencer turns out to be the Sole Survivor, Jeff could once again say he “You never give up in this game” and show a clip from this episode as a prime example. When Spencer said: “We expected to win”, we were reminded of his confidence during the pre-season interviews and Jeff could also use that during the reunion to show just how bleak his future looked at this point.

With that said, we must admit that the outcome of this challenge was another swing and miss for my predictions! It was our impressions last week that Luzon had found harmony, but that didn't last. J'Tia's panic while blindfolded reminded me of Amber in that memorable Outback challenge where she stood inches from the picnic table but was unable to put the basket on it, letting Kucha win the reward.

Beauty - Day 9

I don't think any of them are biology majors!

LJ had a confessional: "The reward challenge; that was a fun one. It picked up the group a little bit. It brought us back to the fact that we are out here to win, we are out here to compete and we can win."

Despite the lack of compliments from Jeff during the challenges and in the recaps, we have to admit that LJ is getting some positive confessionals. No one got hit “in that spot” more often that LJ yet he found a way to call that challenge fun. I’m not sure what it means for his future but he looks like a good guy.

Jeremiah opened up the bag of chicken feed in front of everyone and wound up with the idol clue in his hand so he read it to everyone.

(Food for thought: As the note mentioned, it was easier to find the idol "when the tide is right". Since production had total control over the time Morgan hit the beach, I wonder if they dropped her off when the tide was right or not. It would tell us if they wanted her to find it right away or not.)

LJ's confessional continued: "Jeremiah reached into the bag and found a clue to the idol. Unfortunately, everyone was standing there and the clue was so precise; thank God! I have it because it would have been found today, it would have been a group idol and it would have been a huge problem."

That's when Alexis started looking forward for some bird porn, hoping to see the rooster getting it on!
Alexis (solo): "There's been some talk about how this egg-chicken process works, but I just think everyone is just pretending to know and they don't know."

When she asked if the chicken were asexual, a chicken was heard as if it was actually answering her with a "Baaawk?"

(For those that don’t have Chicken-English translators, that meant: “Whaaat? How dumb can you be?”)

LJ shared a laugh with the audience: "Nobody knows how a chicken is born. I don't understand. I can't even believe that some of this stuff comes out of people's mouths. We have the stereotypical beauty tribe and it so unfortunate. (Alexis in close-up) We all know the egg came first because dinosaurs had eggs and they were before the chickens."

We see that what the girls lack in Biology, LJ lacks in philosophy.

Country boy Jeremiah grabbed a chicken, apologizing to it adding that it was going to be tasty.

Jeremiah in confessional: "It's going to be tough but, after Tribal Council, I have to use my Southern charm and get a little bit on their good side, you know. I'm trying to do as much as I can."

The cracking sound told us he had killed that chicken. Seeing that the head had come off, Alexis had the quote of the evening: "So chickens don't need a brain to function?"

I don't know about chickens my dear but I think that was the editor telling you that you don't seem to need a brain to function.

Jeremiah's confessional continued: "I hope I earned some major points. I may have been raised in the country but I don't know anything about chickens. I'm a model, you know."

Morgan also had a confessional: "Jeremiah killed the chicken and that's cool. I get to eat now. I will appreciate it, I will say thanks but, at the end of the day, I still don't like Jeremiah at all. He's dumb as rocks and he's a big fat liar. I don't know why he's on this tribe. I don't think he's beautiful and we are supposed to be the beautiful tribe."

Morgan looked a lot less beautiful saying that but it's hard to argue against her assessment of Jeremiah since that is what we've been shown. The editors have invested a lot in her story, trying to make us feel bad for her in the tough position she has been since the opening twist but her pettiness (remember she dismissed LJ with the “he’s old” remark to Brice) combined with both LJ’s and Jeremiah’s good natured edits makes it difficult to say for certain that she will get her revenge. We can’t forget the first episode’s title though and that should come into play at some point.

Brawn - Day 9

Cliff and Lindsey were teasing each other and talking about blindsides.

Sarah in confessional: "Cliff and Lindsey are so tight; they want to get rid of me. Tony overheard them and told me so you mess with me, I'll mess with you way worse. I want to get Cliff out."

So that's a third strike against our views from last week. After Jeremiah and Luzon letting us down, now we see that Sarah didn't uncover Tony's lies and that she was indeed targeting Cliff all along when the previews showed her talking about throwing a challenge. On the other hand, we were quite prepared to see her falling completely for Tony's lies. It’s such a bad sign for Sarah, especially considering she talked about her interrogation skills and her abilities to get to the truth, that we let our hopes interfere with the simplest explanation: She thought Cliff wanted her out so she was going after him. This turn of events is a great sign for Tony though and he was never even part of the whole thrown challenge discussion.

Sarah approached Woo, telling him that Cliff didn't need the money as much as them so that they should get him out. Woo was receptive to the idea. He told her it was their time to shine.

Sarah's confessional continued: "Woo surprised me, but he would flip on Cliff. He just has this lackadaisical demeanor about him, but Woo wants to win bad enough. It's just a feeling, just a vibe, but I think we are solid."

Woo had his first confessional where we heard his thoughts on the game: "I look up to Cliff in a big way. He's a basketball superstar that I have been idolizing for a long time, but it would be nice for one of us to achieve that million dollars success other than Cliff. I'm just trying to affiliate myself with the majority and when the opportunity is presented to me, I got to take it."

That's not exactly a winner's quote for Woo! His own words tell us that he would be happy if Sarah or even anyone else on the tribe would win as long as it's not the guy with the fat bankroll.

Tony walked up to the two. They told him they were good but Tony had a confessional to express his anxiety: "I saw Woo and Sarah whispering something and I told myself: I'm gonna go see what's going on. So I go up to them and they go like … a deer in the headlights. So, I pulled Sarah to the side to ask her what's going on." Sarah told him that Woo was with them. Tony wasn't sure but his confessional continued: "A few days ago, I went to Sarah and fed her some kind of lie, telling her that I heard Cliff and Lindsey talking about her and, from that moment on, I think I changed the game by having her on my side. So, I believe now that she is part of my alliance. As far as Sarah's concerned, Woo is on her side which means he's also on my side. So, I believe we are in an alliance of four right now against Cliff and Lindsey. She had me swear on my badge which doesn't mean anything to me swearing on my badge because I am here to lie, cheat and steal. I am here to drive people's dreams through the mud so that I can fulfill mine. That's what I'm here for. Whatever I have to do, I will do, it's as simple as that."

We heard Sarah saying that it would be great to have two cops at the end. Tony simply replied with a "Cops-R-Us".

It seems that Tony will drive Sarah's dreams through the mud because she has fallen for his lies. Does that make him a winner though? Wouldn't the editors have cut the part about swearing on his badge if he was going to win? It seems that was left in because Tony won't get his own dream fulfilled, that something will happen to make him regret being so flippant with his honor. It's usually something that the jury holds against a finalist. Of course, now we are suggesting that Tony makes the Final Three but what about Sarah? I think she will be there at the end but he will crush her dreams just before the finale.

Brawn - Day 11

We were back in Aparri to read another straight forward message from Tree mail. The part about "sink the shot" told them the challenge was going to be some sort of Basketball game that would be made for Cliff.

(How many in the audience said "Sure, as soon as production heard they wanted to get rid of Cliff they put in a challenge he couldn't lose")

In confessional, Cliff said: "We have an immunity challenge today and it might be Basketball so I'm sure everyone will be expecting me to be able to make the basket because I did play Basketball. 18 years in the NBA, I was in the top ten of any player that ever played in the NBA in games played. I played more games than Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird so hopefully, it's a walk in the park."

Phillip once compared himself to Jordan and Magic Johnson. We laughed at him but who knew we'd actually get a Survivor that could say this in complete honesty? I must say, Cliff is a much better casting decision than Kent but we were expecting that just by their respective reputation. Cliff was always a team player while Kent was never a good team mate. The good team player works best on this show mainly because it leaves room for the other people in the tribe. It doesn't make Cliff a better player though.

Despite hearing they were going to be playing Basketball, Sarah went on with her plan to target Cliff, now adding that she wanted to throw the challenge. Hearing the plan, Trish hesitated but finally came on board.

Sarah in confessional: "I always said that I would never throw a challenge because it doesn't work out. However, we cannot risk merging into two tribes and having Cliff still here. I know it sounds stupid. Why get rid of numbers? But he's not our number. That's why. It's him and Lindsey. I heard Cliff wants me out so I'm screwed if Cliff is still here."

This segment had to be put on the air to make us think Aparri could lose but it really made Sarah look bad. She couldn't even fail at failing! Note that Tony not only sat in this challenge but he wasn't even part of the discussion about throwing it. Sarah did his dirty work not only to get Trish and Woo on board but also with the audience. She got the blame from all those who think throwing a challenge is ridiculous. In a tribe of 6 where you barely outnumber the others, we have to agree that this wasn't the most brilliant idea we've ever heard. Can Sarah ever be redeemed?

Woo had his own confessional: "Throwing a challenge is not smart. Some of these guys might want to but Cliff and I, we've been extremely close and I can just picture it now: Shooting baskets. Look at this jump shot. This is just undeniable alongside with my buddy Cliff but this is not how the majority of my core alliance feels so what do I do? Man."

The promos had made us think that Woo was on board with throwing the challenge, that was even the main reason why we thought Tony had to be the target, but Woo was never actually in agreement. That's why it's always best not to look too closely at the promos, that it<s always better to wait and see how the events actually play out.

The Challenge

While Trish and Sarah used delaying tactics, it was clear that Woo gave it his best shot:
- Woo got the first buoy without delay.
- Sarah missed on the 2nd, one that Jefra easily managed. She got it on her second try.
- Trish struggled with the 3rd Buoy, having to come back empty handed. Morgan had quickly retrieved that 3rd buoy for Solana.
- Woo got the 4th and 5th buoy quickly. Sarah didn't look happy when the last buoy surfaced.

For Luzers, Spencer had to retrieve 4 buoys, Tasha only managing the easiest one.

Jeremiah, shooting for the Beauty tribe, was having fun, Jeff saying he was at a carnival game. He sank his five shots before anyone else had gotten to the free throw line.
Spencer made two shots before Cliff found his range. Cliff realized he needed to make an adjustment because of the height of the basket so he got down on one knee and swish! It didn't take him long to show he wasn't throwing bricks like Shaquille O'Neil! Spencer had done his best but J'Tia and Kass simply couldn't feed him the ball.

Appropriately, Alexis threw the idol over to Jeremiah while Jeff passed it to Cliff.

Sarah in confessional: "We tried so hard to blow that challenge. Seriously. Green tribe: I tried to help you out, but that team sucks. They deserve to lose after that. That's all I can say."

It appears that either Sarah didn't notice how Woo did his best or that the editors cut out some of his failed attempts to get the buoys. I wonder how Sarah and Woo will get along now that their first mission failed. For Woo, there was absolutely no reason to cut Cliff so this worked out well for him. For Sarah, this outcome was actually better than going to TC, if and only if Cliff didn't notice she was trying to blow the challenge.

Brains - Day 11

A disappointed Spencer had the first confessional: "I do feel a bit gypped that I have to go to Tribal Council when I am doing very well in the challenges and it's really my team that's doing poorly in the challenges. The worst thing about being in this tribe is that the girls have succeeded in putting themselves in a power position. The problem is, by doing that, they've run the tribe into the ground. J'Tia keeps messing up in challenges. It's beyond frustrating. History is definitely not in my favor."

At this point, Spencer had hit rock bottom. Knowing that he will survive the upcoming TC and be delievered from this terrible tribe, then his story fits in perfectly with Jeff's comment that you should never give up in this game.

While J'Tia was taking a walk alone in the jungle, Spencer made his case to Tasha and Kass.

(Since it's unlikely that J'Tia went off right then to do chores, we can say that the producers were helping Spencer, whisking his rival away when the tribe hadn't had time to cool down from the loss.)

Spencer's confessional continued: "I don't know if they are just patting my back on the way out the door or if they are actually trying to bring me back into the fold."

Kass and Tasha couldn't see any reasons to keep J'Tia.

A swap had to be considered, didn’t it?

Kass in confessional: "I'm happy with our decision: Get rid of J'Tia. It makes sense. If we have another challenge, we have a strong guy with us as opposed to someone we know has the propensity for failure."

Kass and Tasha agreed that they shouldn't tell Spencer that he was safe.

That has to be considered a stupid decision. As soon as they decided to keep him, they should have made a good effort to show they wanted him. Their performance at Tribal Council would be even worse as far as trying to bring him back into the fold.

According to plan, Kass and Tasha told J'Tia that Spencer was going. Without J'Tia having to say anything, both Kass and Tasha made the case for why they couldn't keep Spencer since he would immediately flip to the men.

It’s strange that this realization didn't change their plans.

J'Tia had an enlightened confessional where she said she'd be loyal but that throwing rice in the fire wasn't going to be forgotten.

Tasha's confessional showed that she was having second thoughts (and 3rd and 4th!): "Initially, my thoughts were to vote J'Tia out but I believe J'Tia is a loyal person and you never know: Jeff could throw a curveball in this game where you need a loyal person. That is something to consider."

An interviewer could have simply asked: "But what happens if there isn't a swap before the merge and what if that merge doesn't come until Final 12 or even 10?" Are the players the only ones manipulating each other?

Kass listened to Tasha’s opinion about loyalty and gave us a confessional: "The interesting thing about Tasha is that she is like a pendulum. It's going to be over here one minute then over here the next. It might change again before Tribal five times. Tasha can't stop thinking about it. To me, just make a decision and live with it. That's my life: I have to make decisions for people and live with them all the time. So, am I the hatchet man for J'Tia or Spencer? I can live with either decision. Either one is the same gamble to me because I cannot predict what is going to happen tomorrow."

The first rule of Survivor, one that Hatch understood even before landing on the beach: Surround yourself with people that would never vote you out. For Tasha, and even for Kass, that would have been J'Tia, not Spencer. Of course for those like us who always liked Spencer's chances for being a long term player, we are happy that they made this mistake.

Tribal Council

For a full 10 seconds, Jeff just sat there, speechless. Finally, he went straight for the jugular, asking J'Tia for her role in the losses.
She said she did the best she could in the water, that it was strange for her not to rise to the top under stressful situations.
Jeff asked Tasha if J'Tia had only been weak once.
Her friend had to admit that J'Tia had been weak in most of the challenges. She added: "When we go into challenges, we have to find a role for her."
(Her role shouldn't have been to place the flag on the sling or to retrieve the balls in the water. J'Tia could have just stood on that platform like Tasha wound up doing)
Jeff asked J'Tia how she felt knowing that Tasha was looking for the opportunity to get rid of the weak link.
(That sounded a lot like Jeff putting words in Tasha's mouth.)
J'Tia corrected Jeff, saying that Tasha only meant she was weak in challenges, that there are other aspects of the game like outwit.
Jeff pointed out that J'Tia had left out Outlast, saying that you have to stay in the game in order to outwit.
(Jeff really doesn't like being contradicted)
Tasha explained their dilemma, having to choose between a strong player and someone that was loyal.
Jeff asked Kass about the rice incident.
Kass said that was an emotional response, not a sign of disloyalty, that J'Tia simply made a bad decision.
Jeff pushed further, saying that a bad decision could cost you a million dollars.
Spencer said that unpredictability is just as dangerous as disloyalty. He pledged that he wouldn't make a dumb mistake and that he would be with this group in the future.
When J'Tia said he had told them that once before we saw Tasha turn to Kass, whispering "What do you want to do?"
Jeff asked J'Tia and Spencer if they realized that Kass and Tasha were talking to each other.
Spencer said it was crazy, that he would love it as a viewer but, sitting there, it was "pretty scary".
Enjoying this, Kass said that, as a viewer, she'd be yelling: "Don't do something stupid" but what is stupid?
Jeff turned to Spencer, asking him as a super fan of the show, how it felt not to have had a chance to play.
Spencer said it was devastating and he wanted to avoid that.
Kass and Tasha exchanged nods.
Jeff told Spencer that Tasha was not even listening to him. He went on: "She is looking at Kass and wondering what is the decision. It's happening right now".
That gave Spencer a chance to say that he was loyal to them.

Jeff said it was time to vote.
(After all, he had done all he could to help Spencer.)

J'Tia had an honorable exit, wishing them luck.
Spencer turned to Tasha, saying: "I'm gonna show you you made the right decision. I'm with you 100%."
Tasha said she knew.

Jeff left them saying they were unpredictable. He hoped this new tribal configuration would bring them some stability because they needed it.

The Story

An interesting aspect of the story is that each tribe has one leading man, a leading woman and an important supporting actor. The stars are Tony and Sarah for Brawn, Tasha and Spencer for Brains and Morgan and LJ for the Beauty tribe while Woo, Kass and Alexis have been more than simple extras. What is even more interesting is that each tribe had one star on the bottom and one in a position of power. Tony was all alone before turning the game around when he got Sarah, the tribe’s leader, on board. For Spencer, we heard him say that he was at the bottom yet he managed to convince Tasha to keep him this round. It hasn’t yet worked for Morgan but with the swap upcoming, the “hot girl with a grudge” could find herself in a great position to get her revenge.

We don’t know how the swap will work but the odds are that each tribe will have three former Aparris while Solana will be split 3/2 and Luzon will see a 2/1 division. If it does work out like this and not a totally random distribution, then the Aparris won’t have the majority on either tribe. They could see the two other groups side against them. However, if they spot the outsiders (Morgan and Spencer) they could take over. It would be really interesting to see what would happen if Tony, Morgan and Spencer wind up together or if Tony and Sarah are split. That could actually give her new life.

The Characters

The Extras:
I don’t see any of these players with a chance to win the game

Lindsey: She doesn’t matter anymore, her role reduced to being Cliff’s fan. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that she gets separated from the NBA player and has nothing left to offer. Her elimination seems like a formality, an easy decision for everyone so maybe that is why we don’t get more from her..

Trish: She’s been relegated to the background of the story. We heard that she doesn’t like throwing challenges but she was willing to do it. It was troubling for her personal story that we never heard how she felt about the decision and what she hoped to gain. From our perspective, she gained Sarah’s trust but we never heard anyone say it so it probably won’t count in the end.

Cliff: I wonder if he ever found out before the episode aired that they were trying to throw that challenge. If he sensed something was wrong, he could turn quickly against Sarah or Trish. Woo could very well tell him about the plan, especially if the swap puts these two together again.

Jefra: Now that things were going well for Solana, Jefra faded away from our screens. It’s evident that she will be shown only when her tribe heads for Tribal Council especially if she finds herself in the cross-hairs.

Jeremiah: As quickly as he was given a role in the story, it was taken away. Jeremiah really has nothing besides his charm to get him further in the game and it’s getting close to the time when the charming players get voted out for those that make easier opponents during the final vote.

The Supporting Actors:
I think only one of them has an outside chance of winning

Kass: I found it strange to hear Kass describe Tasha as a pendulum when Kass herself has swung from one leader to the next, going from David to Garrett to Tasha. Vecepia won by switching from one power player to the next with great skill but for Kass it seems more like luck. J’Tia called her a good luck charm and we see that it continues to favor her. We have to consider that she said she could be making a dumb decision and from a game perspective it certainly looked like J’Tia would have been more loyal now that we know Jeff is throwing them a curve ball.

Alexis: The stereotypical cute but dumb girl isn’t the Blonde of the tribe. The chicken scene served as character assassination and it would be impossible for the viewers to look at Alexis as a worthy winner after that. Still, by having LJ’s ear and having 3 allies that count for as many shields, Alexis will outlast many other players, continuing to narrate the story, making us laugh at her along the way.

Woo: He had absolutely nothing to gain by voting Cliff out. Sarah should have known that she hadn’t given him a good reason to act this early. Woo did the right thing by going for the buoys, giving the basketball player a chance to prove his worth. His edit has been slowly evolving so we can’t rule him out as a possible winner especially with his moment to shine quote but he still seems more like a simple team player, saying that it would be nice if one of them won. It seems that Woo doesn’t have the instinct of a killer but many have won this game with very little blood on their hands.

The Stars that were in Power:
They have lost a lot of ground to the front runners.

Tasha: Sarah’s confessional told us that the Green tribe was pathetic and, as their leader, Tasha’s star has faded. Being called a pendulum isn’t very positive. Now that she will need a loyal soldier by her side she may very well regret J’Tia’s departure, especially considering she would have been a good shield. It will be fun to see whether Spencer honors his words about being loyal to her if those two wind up on the same tribe.

LJ: He is getting the good guy edit but very little support from the editors who don’t remind us of his exploits. That usually means that they won’t amount to anything in the long run. Everyone knows that he is good in challenges so he could be the target on his new tribe.

Sarah: Not only is she doing Tony’s dirty work, she is taking the blame for a move that couldn’t have been popular to the viewers even if Cliff had said he saw her as a threat. Failing at throwing the challenge was actually a good thing for her game and the swap could give her a new story line if she can get away from Tony. That possibility keeps her in contention despite everything else. In fact, I’d place her as the 3rd favorite to win it all because there is still a lot to appreciate in her story.

The Stars that were in Trouble
Their skills and the swap have given them new life.

Morgan: I place her here even if I don’t consider her as a contender simply because she’s been the outsider from the very start. We can’t forget the fact that the editors have invested us in her story, at times playing music to make us react in her favor. We’ve had examples of her pettiness though so her story could end at any time. Maybe she will only get part of her revenge, finding a way to eliminate one of Jeremiah or LJ but not the other.

Tony: He didn’t need the swap to turn the game around, finding a way into the main alliance with some well chosen words and some big lies. Contrary to Hantz, he hasn’t ruffled any feathers yet because, unlike Foa Foa, Aparri hasn’t gone to Tribal Council yet. Despite his lies, he is being much more diplomatic than the tankerer ever was or even could be. Tony could very well win since he does have some great winning quotes but he still seems like someone that would get roasted by the jury. It will be hard for him to hide his desire to drag people’s dreams through the mud because, at some point, he will have to get his hands dirty if only to satisfy his ego.

Spencer: Now that Spencer has been given a chance to play, we are expecting him to show us an awesome game. The kid that was relegated to the bottom by his tribe mates has found a way out and he never gave up. His story fits well with the themes we have seen this season especially if it is about a man overcoming his position as the biggest underdog in Cagayan. We have been keeping our eyes on him ever since he had those confessionals in the opening segment of the premiere and now that we heard Jeff say that the key is to never give up, we are probably looking at the next Sole Survivor. We have to put him as our top contender right now but we will need to see how his story is handled during the swap.

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Jims03 57 desperate attention whore postings
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03-18-14, 10:36 PM (EST)
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22. "RE: Episode 4 - Functionning without a Brain "
This has been a really busy week, so I haven't had much time to give a really detailed follow-up but we still seem to be on the same page regarding the editing.

Jeremiah: As quickly as he was given a role in the story, it was taken away. Jeremiah really has nothing besides his charm to get him further in the game and it’s getting close to the time when the charming players get voted out for those that make easier opponents during the final vote.

In addition, the only real focus he got from Episode 4 was Morgan talking about how she wants him gone. Granted, sometimes these kind of confessionals pop-up in episodes where the two parties clash later that night, but the Beauties didn't go to TC. It's always possible that Jeremiah may get the better of Morgan in the end, but the way it is presented, his story may make a turn for the worse.

Kass: I found it strange to hear Kass describe Tasha as a pendulum when Kass herself has swung from one leader to the next, going from David to Garrett to Tasha. Vecepia won by switching from one power player to the next with great skill but for Kass it seems more like luck. J’Tia called her a good luck charm and we see that it continues to favor her. We have to consider that she said she could be making a dumb decision and from a game perspective it certainly looked like J’Tia would have been more loyal now that we know Jeff is throwing them a curve ball.

What's interesting about Kass is that they're still keeping her fairly involved with the narration process, giving the situation from her point of view. Her comments on Tasha's game suggests to me that maybe it's Kass that goes farther. It wasn't a strong indictment, though, so the jury's still out. Kass is still someone to watch.

Woo: He had absolutely nothing to gain by voting Cliff out. Sarah should have known that she hadn’t given him a good reason to act this early. Woo did the right thing by going for the buoys, giving the basketball player a chance to prove his worth. His edit has been slowly evolving so we can’t rule him out as a possible winner especially with his moment to shine quote but he still seems more like a simple team player, saying that it would be nice if one of them won. It seems that Woo doesn’t have the instinct of a killer but many have won this game with very little blood on their hands.

I agree. His edit has been improving significantly lately, so he's definitely in the mix. I'm still bothered by how much of a supporting character he is to other parties (Cliff, Sarah), which makes me think he's going to be a boring merge boot.

Tasha: Sarah’s confessional told us that the Green tribe was pathetic and, as their leader, Tasha’s star has faded. Being called a pendulum isn’t very positive. Now that she will need a loyal soldier by her side she may very well regret J’Tia’s departure, especially considering she would have been a good shield. It will be fun to see whether Spencer honors his words about being loyal to her if those two wind up on the same tribe.

Despite the Kass confessional, I'd say it was still another solid outing for Tasha. The episode was portrayed as Spencer being the "correct" choice, so Tasha earned a lot of audience points by making the call that the editors think she should have. The next couple of episodes should be interesting now that Spencer is more out of the box... Will Tasha start playing second fiddle or is she still the dominant player?

Sarah: Not only is she doing Tony’s dirty work, she is taking the blame for a move that couldn’t have been popular to the viewers even if Cliff had said he saw her as a threat. Failing at throwing the challenge was actually a good thing for her game and the swap could give her a new story line if she can get away from Tony. That possibility keeps her in contention despite everything else. In fact, I’d place her as the 3rd favorite to win it all because there is still a lot to appreciate in her story.

I have half a mind to just write Sarah off at this point. They keep underlining how taken in Sarah is with Tony confessionals about his badge... And her giving "delusional" confessionals about going after people just makes her look like a Dumb Player. If she were the winner, I feel she would be portrayed more as a understandable and sympathetic victim to Evil Tony.

Spencer: Now that Spencer has been given a chance to play, we are expecting him to show us an awesome game. The kid that was relegated to the bottom by his tribe mates has found a way out and he never gave up. His story fits well with the themes we have seen this season especially if it is about a man overcoming his position as the biggest underdog in Cagayan. We have been keeping our eyes on him ever since he had those confessionals in the opening segment of the premiere and now that we heard Jeff say that the key is to never give up, we are probably looking at the next Sole Survivor. We have to put him as our top contender right now but we will need to see how his story is handled during the swap.

Episode 4 was one of the most positive episodes for a specific contestant I've ever seen. Obviously, some of it was just because of what happened in the challenge... But you notice the editors don't poke at him at all. Even during positive story moments, the editors love to center the story a little for non-winners, with a couple snarky confessionals from other contestants. Still, there was pretty much nothing from Tasha or Kass suggesting Spencer brought the situation on himself.

Why is this guy who is supposedly sooooooooo arrogant and cocky (according to the pre-interviews stuff) portrayed as such a model citizen of the game?

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03-19-14, 09:26 AM (EST)
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24. "RE: Episode 4 - Functionning without a Brain "
Quite a bit of broadcast time spent on wondering if the hens need a rooster.

Just call me Woo Hoo

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03-21-14, 09:08 PM (EST)
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25. "Episode 5 - It Doesn't Seem Fair"
Thank you Jims and Suzzee for your comments. This is turning out to be a surprising season, isn't it? Let's see if we can make sense of it.

In the recap, Jeff first told us once more that, with Brice out, Morgan lost her only ally and is all alone facing an alliance of 4.
We heard Morgan's confessional: "There's a huge possibility that I am the next to go. I just got to save myself."

On the Brawn tribe, winning was becoming routine...but it couldn't stop cracks from forming.
We see Sarah talking to Trish about getting Cliff out. We heard Trish's answer: "I can do it, trust me."

At the immunity challenge, the Brain tribe continued their custom of losing.
At Tribal council, we heard Jeff telling them that, at this rate, none of them would be there at the end.
(Spencer is the one shown)
We heard Tasha saying they had to choose between strength and loyalty.
Jeff told us that, in the end, they chose strength.
We saw Spencer hugging a smiling Tasha.

How often have we been told that Morgan is in danger? It’s her own theme so I expect that she will be safe until she actually starts to feel safe! I don’t see it happening any time soon.
For the Brawn tribe, Trish gave us a big clue to the end of the episode when she told Sarah to trust her with the task of getting rid of Cliff. She didn’t miss but where will that leave her?
As for Luzon, Jeff loves to have an impact on the outcome so being the one to say that they were on the wrong track, that at this rate none of them would make it to the end was a nice way to introduce their come back. That last image of a smiling Tasha being hugged by Spencer was a good indicator that the momentum was shifting after their last vote.

It Doesn’t Seem Fair.

Brain - Night 11

Returning to camp, we heard Kass saying: "It's a sign, guys: Our fire is still going."

I'll say that is indeed a huge sign. This whole scene was quite revealing.

Spencer in confessional: "I couldn't be happier right now to still be in the game. I thought I was going home today. This game changes like that. Now, I am rising back up. It's a complete roller coaster ride and I'm just happy that I haven't fallen off the roller coaster yet."

Kass (solo): "It was a crazy tribal. We had a last minute Tribal vote switch. It just hit me: We guarantee a loss if we keep J'Tia. If we go with Spencer, he kicks butt and I need to win. How my team has played this game is ridiculous. We are not the Brains tribe we are the "crap for Brains" tribe. Just a rolling log jam mess with a couple of nerds on top."

Spencer then said: "This could be the final three. The only thing between us and that is two entire tribes."
Tasha answered: "That's it? No problem, man!"

That certainly qualifies as an important scene. It will make for a very nice recap when those three make their way to the end. I expect to see this moment replayed a few times including at the reunion.

The next morning, Tasha first read tree mail then had a confessional: "The decision to keep Spencer will be tested today. We keep saying that this is the best combination of people; this is the strongest tribe we have. Well, the rubber will meet the road today. The Brain tribe has been through so much and if we come out with a victory, I think people will start thinking again about how strong this Brain tribe really is."

Spencer called it the start of the come back.

The Reward Challenge ... But first!

Jeff told everyone to drop their buffs and we saw what is called the opening credits these days.

Sarah had the first confessional after hearing the news: "Jeff said drop your buffs and my head just went (she looked down). It took me probably 6 days to figure out who I could trust out here and now I have to start over again."

The switch gave us the following line-ups:
- Nu Solana: Tony, Cliff, Woo, Lindsey, Trish, Jefra and LJ
- Nu Aparri: Sarah, Jeremiah, Alexis, Morgan, Kass, Tasha and Spencer.

I must say that, if they wanted this to come down to Brawn vs. Brains this switch worked wonderfully well. By staying together, the three Brains have a shot at being the new Aitu 4, the Brawn tribe is still there practically at full strength to keep the rivalry going while the Beauty tribe is ready to be decimated. As an added bonus, the player that wanted to throw a challenge to get rid of Cliff can't hurt him anymore and will certainly not want to go to TC so quickly! Some will call it karma, others punishment. If the survivor gods wanted to make Sarah pay then they didn’t get the desired result considering how this episode will end!

Sarah told Jeff that she felt like the odd one out, that her entire tribe walked away from her.
Tasha said she was very happy, that they looked strong for the challenges.
Jefra told Jeff that it stinks being on the bottom but that they would be looking for cracks.
Cliff talked about the thought process where people will either look to stay with their original alliances or work to create new ones.

Even if the first round of the reward challenge was won by the new Aparri tribe with Tasha doing as good a job as Candice had in the Cook islands, the Solana Tribe won it easily with big Cliff playing the post as solidly as he did all those years in the NBA. I mean, with a man that large, Aparri would have needed a crane to win.
The only fun comment during that challenge was Jeff`s admission that seeing LJ dragging Alexis "doesn't seem fair."
I also enjoyed hearing Cliff's laugh when Spencer and Jeremiah were trying to move him.

Spencer in confessional: "It's nice to upgrade from the moms to the hot girls but at the same time, it's tough to keep losing. Every thing with the Brains seems to go wrong, some how some way."

It seems the editors are already serving us some doubts about Spencer's chances to reach the end game. This confessional makes us think he will not heed LJ's first episode advice and fall for Morgan, the hot girl, instead of sticking with Kass and Tasha. We strongly suspect that it won't happen but what's nice is that it probably gives Morgan a spot in the long run. She will have to be there when Spencer faces that "tough" decision.

Solana - Day 12

We heard a cheerful melody, the weather was nice, the birds were flying around and the New Solana tribe was ready to enjoy their reward.

I smiled when LJ mistook Cliff's jacket for a second tarp!
It was also funny that we didn't see any clues to the idol. Why wasn't Tony thinking about getting that clue, you ask? Well the reward included doughnuts and there is this thing with cops...

LJ in confessional: "We won a challenge; good news. The reality is; bad news. Jefra and I are outnumbered 5 to 2 by the Brawn tribe. (Note that the Beauty tribe wasn't merely separated; the pairs were broken down also.) I do have an idol that I can play, but that would only buy me a few more days and then I'm gone. So, my only hope is that they absorb me as a team member as opposed to a threat."

Jefra wanted to know the Brawn members occupation and she guessed Lindsey's correctly. Trish was all surprised to hear that LJ was from Massachusetts.

Trish in confessional: "I find out that LJ is from Massachusetts which I never would have guessed, and I am too. That brings us a little connection, you know. I always thought that the Beauty tribe looked very high maintenance, but LJ is pretty laid back and he is easy going and you can tell that he's a gentleman. He's a Boston boy! That's probably why I thought he was cute from afar without even knowing. I think LJ is a very handsome guy but I could be his mother. I'm not Mrs. Robinson, ha-ha!"

LJ had a confessional of his own in response: "When Trish said she was from Boston, it was a moment of beaming sunshine for me. We already have a connection and, if for whatever reason, I'm a draw for somebody a little bit older, that's single and been through a lot of stuff, whether it's the sex-appeal or whatever she is drawn to, I'm going to use it to save myself."

Lindsey also reacted to the scene: "Trish totally exaggerates her laugh around guys and it makes me sick. You're fifty years old; stop trying to get attention from 20 year old men, seriously."

I think there had to be many viewers agreeing with Lindsey on this but I was wrong the last time I tried to read the reaction that most people had to these two.

Cliff and Woo were happy with the switch

Cliff gave us his thoughts: "I feel good about the way things got mixed up today. I was able to keep 5 original members of my tribe. If we can keep moving forward with the people we have, we are in a great position." Jokingly, he told Woo that he hated seeing Trish get a purple buff. He explained it to us: "My only concern now is Trish. I don't know what is going on with her and LJ. I just really have to keep an eye on the two of them. It's a must."

Surprisingly, Woo didn't warn Cliff about the plan to throw the previous challenge nor did he talk to Trish about getting back in the fold. Throughout this episode, he acted as if he didn't remember that he had been with Trish, Tony and Sarah against Cliff and Lindsey. Cliff paid for it but Woo can blame himself for the mess he now faces.

Aparri - Day 12

Sarah: “I'm the only original Aparri member on a tribe with three Brains and three Beauties. It's definitely a scary position to be in because you don't know who you can trust and who you can't trust. That's why I wanted to ask about, on Day 1, who took the clue or did they take the rice."

She proceeded to tell everyone that they had two bags of rice because of Trish.
(Isn't it convenient that the Brains, who had almost no rice left, got transferred to the tribe that had it in abundance?)
That's when Alexis realized she had been duped by Morgan who quickly told everyone she didn't find that idol.

Morgan had a confessional: "Sarah sort of outed me when she said that Trish picked rice instead of the idol. I chose the clue and I kept it a secret the entire time. Hopefully, I can start fresh with this tribe and no one holds it against me."

Alexis had a confessional of her own: "Morgan lied day 1 and it put a bigger flag, not that she didn't have a 100 red flags already. It told me exactly what I wanted to know, to not trust her and never ally with her so I am going to protect myself and jump ship right away."

This montage is exactly why I think that Morgan makes it far. She could have had a fresh start or we could have been left thinking that she had found a good place because this scene didn't have to be shown. The editors included it to put her right back in danger but we didn't hear what anyone but Alexis thought of that. It had been Sarah's plan to find who she could trust but her confessional didn't have the usual follow-up when her plan worked. We don't know who Sarah will trust but we are led to believe that she will target Morgan. I wouldn't be so sure about that. It was interesting to see Sarah continuing to get good confessionals, making her look smarter now that she isn't under Tony's powers. This is a very good sign for her. For Alexis, her plan to jump ship could very well be the thing that ends her story.

Alexis joined the former members of Luzon at the well, telling them that Jefra was her closest ally so that she was ready to align with them.

It was a scene that reminded me a lot of Redemption island where one of the big themes came from Rob who said newbies always reveal too much. We heard only Alexis making her pitch, the three former Luzons listening to it in silence. Even during the voice over part of Spencer's confessional, we saw Alexis rambling on, talking with her hands for emphasis, trying to sell herself.

Spencer had a confessional: "I think it's really telling how fast and almost how desperately Alexis came up to us. Now that we see that Beauty is fracturing a little bit, it puts the Brains in a much better position. The fact that they are this divided shows that we can play them against each other." After listening to Alexis say that Jeremiah had already flipped twice and that Morgan lies and is very lazy, Spencer's confessional continued: "The Beauty tribe is a very gossipy tribe. They are almost like High schoolers. They are talking bad about each other, spreading rumors, sometimes right in front of each other." Proving his point, Morgan was with everyone including Jeremiah when she gave them her thoughts on Alexis, saying that she always cuddled with LJ and shook her butt for him. Spencer went on: "They seem to have so little social skills for a tribe that is supposed to be beautiful and social."

If the opening segment gave us great confessionals by Kass and Tasha (especially when we heard Kass say she was there to win) there is no doubt who the stand-out is on this tribe. Spencer is shown as a very insightful player which is a very important trait to display in the winner.

Not to be forgotten, it was Jeremiah's turn to rant on his team mates: "Morgan would backstab me in a minute." Asked if he was friends with Alexis, he confirmed that she was tight with LJ, not with him. Jeremiah also proposed to be the Brains' 4th.
(Note that Morgan was never seen proposing a deal. She is still shown as being alone)

Tasha then had a confessional: "As of now, the Brain tribe is in the best position possible. Initially, I thought we'd have to battle with the Beauties, but there is some dissention amongst the Beauty ranks. So we went from tragedy to what seems to be a triumph right now. Just when you think you are out of the game, things switch up and you're back on top."

There is less depth in this confessional than in Spencer's. Tasha gives us plain narration instead getting into the psyche of the other players. Even the last part of Tasha's confessional applies more to Spencer's story because he really was going out of the game.

Solana - Day 12

Trish and Jefra talked about the storm and how miserable they felt on that day when they took a walk to the water well. They used the time to scheme against Lindsey and Cliff.

Jefra had a confessional: "I was sitting so great before the switch and I was so solid in my position in the game but when it's just LJ and I with all the Brawn tribe basically, it's a totally different feeling. When Trish told me about all the alliances and where she stood, it was pretty shocking because it happened very fast so, I am not going to count my chicken before they hatch but I think there could be a spot for LJ and I to squeeze in."
She told Trish that she was tight with LJ.

Trish in confessional: "I started this game being very naive, but I started to realize that I have to start and do what I need to do to get to the top. From day one, I felt like I was at the bottom of the barrel but this just twisted the whole thing upside down."

The scene ended when the two spotted Cliff coming to check out what was happening. As they passed him, we heard Trish simply saying: "Excuse us."

I'm not sure Cliff will ever excuse Trish for what she did! What was interesting in this segment was the role reversal for Jefra. This Beauty didn't talk too much but listened to Trish who, after showing what could be described as a schoolgirl crush on LJ started acting like Spencer's High Schoolers, not wasting any time to talk bad about her old team. It can't be a good sign for her even if she got her way this round.

The Challenge.

It was the same as we saw in an early episode of China, the tribes having to use Jeff's big log to bang a gong.
Trish sat out for Solana while Alexis won a game of rock-paper-scissors against Morgan to play in the challenge.
These were the interesting comments:
- It's harder than it looks... You got to get that log up high.
- Aparri, changing their strategy with Jeremiah and Spencer in front and it's working.
With the two tribes tied after the physical part, it was time for the Brains, led by Tasha, to shine. Surprisingly, Aparri won immunity. A "huge victory for the underdogs" was how Jeff called it.
Tony couldn't believe it: "How did that happen?"

Will Tony be equally surprised down the road when it's his turn to go? I think we've been told that Tony will indeed fall victim to a huge blindside.

When Jeff gave the idol to the one who wanted it the most, Tasha, he noted that this was a huge change of pace for Tasha, Kass and Spencer.

We mustn't forget who is important in the New Aparri tribe!

We heard Tony's confessional before they left the scene: "How could we lose that challenge? It was custom made for Brawn. Fortunately, we have the numbers. Let's strike now. LJ's a threat so he's going home first."

This seems to seal the deal for the Brawn members in this game, a game that does look like it’s custom made for the strong players. Once more, we will see that Survival depends more on Brains than muscles. After all, Cirie already told us so many years ago.

Solana - Day 14

The scene started with the lizard. The animal imagery doesn’t seem to be very significant this season because we don’t see another pattern for that lizard besides just following the tribe going to TC.

LJ had the first confessional: "Entering that challenge, it was no problem. Brute force and there's not even a question that we should have won that challenge, but unfortunately, we didn't and it puts Jefra and I in a tough spot. Most likely, they are going to try to get me to go home. So, unless something happens, I'm screwed."

Cliff told us they could keep LJ for challenges but he didn't like his connection with Trish. He added that she was playing with her emotiuons which leads to foolish things.
When he told Lindsey that they would eliminate LJ, Woo was quick to point out that he was just as good on land as him and 10 times better in the water.

Woo had a confessional: "The former Brawn team mates, we are in a good situation. Back at the old camp, we had some tensions, some issues here and there, but now it's a whole new ball game. We have to look at the big picture. What's best for us is to get rid of LJ. Unfortunately, paranoia is rampant right now."
Woo told Lindsey that they didn't need to worry about Trish.

For all the good points Woo scored in the last few episodes, now we are presented with someone who is totally blind to the danger, even suffering from amnesia. How could he reduce a plan to throw a challenge to just another issue?

Trish and LJ talked on the beach, Trish reassuring him that he was in that "we" wanted Cliff out. Trish confirmed that "we" meant her and Tony.

I wouldn't be surprised if this talk happened later, closer to tribal Council once Tony had committed to the plan. If not then Trish was assuming a lot right here.

LJ had a confessional: "I talked to Trish and she said that she wanted to get rid of Cliff and I was shocked. Apparently, Trish and Tony don't like Cliff and it just doesn't make sense to me: You are up 5 to 2. You don't need to talk about anything. Still, if what she says is true, I might not have to play my idol."

After sealing the deal, Trish gave us her thoughts: "I play with my heart and I really like LJ. He's a gentleman, he gets along with people, he never gives up. I mean; the guy's got it all. But Cliff; he doesn't do anything and 14 days of his entitlement is as much as my nervous system can handle so we are writing Cliff's name down on the ballot and the best part is that Cliff does not have one single clue and it's really cracking me up."

She ended her confessional with her maniacal laugh again. There is no doubt that Cliff wasn't presented as someone that did nothing for the tribe. For one thing, he was a huge part in winning the last reward. If we see Cliff as a victim here then that means Trish is our latest "Villain". We can therefore expect to see her fall once she thinks she has it made.

Lindsey knew that Trish would screw them over but Woo wouldn't listen.

We then saw Trish talking to Tony in a scene that probably took place just before she told LJ that he was in. Reversing the order of the scenes serves two purposes here: We aren't sure how Tony will vote which is important for this episode and we don't see Tony as the one that went after Cliff which is good for his long term prospects.

Trish told Tony that Cliff would win each and every challenge after the merge. "He's the first to go" she said, adding: "Then ding-a-ling goes right after."

Tony gave us his confessional: "Trish pulls me to the side and she says that she wants to get rid of Cliff. We need to cut the head off the snake which is crazy. I don't know if she's bipolar or schizo, I don't know what she is but there's no reason to do this right now. What we need to do is get rid of LJ. He has the heart, he has the drive, he has the ambition, he has the strategic mind so he is dangerous."

Tony told Trish that they had to be careful, that the joke could be on them.
Trish was confident that the joke wouldn't be on them.

It seems that the joke will be on Trish that her heart will get broken by her fellow Bostonian, that he will not only outlast her but be instrumental in getting her voted out. As for LJ himself, it's always good to have positive comments from other players and Tony just gave us plenty of reasons to see LJ as a worthy Sole Survivor. We will have to see how his story evolves but LJ now counts as a player that was sent to the bottom, that didn't give up and has been given new life. LJ's story of going to the bottom and getting back up had a much shorter arc than those we've seen for Spencer, Kass or Morgan so it makes us think it won't have the same long term significance but there was little else the editors could do to prolong it. It's possible that the theme was set by Spencer, Kass and Morgan to drive home LJ's story. Therefore, he has to be considered a contender for the final victory. It still feels like his story has too many holes though.

Tony's confessional continued: "Here's the deal: I don't like Cliff, I didn't trust him from the beginning because Cliff is a very influencal person and he wraps people around his finger which makes him a very dangerous person. But, if we get rid of Cliff, I am putting all my cards on LJ. Do I trust him? Hell no! So, I don't know what I am going to do."

Confronted by Cliff about his talk with Trish, Tony lied, saying she wanted to make sure they were still solid. The two men agreed that Trish could make a move if she wanted to but that it wouldn't matter if she was alone making the move, that it was still four against three.
When Cliff said they needed stability, we had a close-up of the hatchet that was in Tony's hands. That image illustrated what was about to unfold at Tribal Council.

Cliff had another confessional telling us that they would eliminate Trish's new support system and have her coming back groveling to her old tribe mates.

After talking to Jefra who wasn't sure about Tony, LJ gave us the last confessional of the evening: "Trish is ready to flip but I don't know about Tony. The reality is that I don't have a choice so I am putting a boatload of trust into Trish and Tony thinking they are going to deliver tonight. If they start to spill their guts, I will know whether they are playing one big whole game to get me out of there and then I will play my idol if I need to."

Tribal Council

Asked how it felt to be in the same camp but have all the new members coming in, LJ compared his and Jefra's situation to a couple selling their home and waiting for the buyers to tell them to leave. He added it was both intimidating and uncomfortable.
Jeff asked Cliff if life had changed because they still had the numbers.
Cliff said it should be as simple as moving forward but that there was always one person that doesn't feel comfortable about their position. Cliff reduced it to a game of numbers.
Woo agreed with Cliff, saying you can't let your emotions get the best of you.
Asked about loyalty, Trish said numbers were important if they were working in your favor.
(That seemed to unsettle Tony but Cliff took notes)
Jeff turned to Jefra saying that was their chance.
Jefra said it wasn't only a game of numbers, that it was also about risks, that there was a bottom man on that 5.
Lindsey said they should simply stick together because it wasn't 5 on 2 but their 5 against the other tribe eventually.
Asked if there was something good about coming to Tribal Council, Cliff answered in sports cliché: In the NBA playoffs, the series only start when you lose a game.
(Ha! But this is March Madness where you can be one and done!)
Tony told Jeff that the game was going to shift after the vote.

Woo voted for LJ, saying that the last thing they need was for him to make the merge and reconnect with his Beauty tribe.
Jefra said she hoped everybody was sticking with the plan.
We didn't see the name that Tony wrote but he said it wasn't personal, just "strategical".
After Jeff said it was time to play an idol, the pause seemed longer than usual. We saw LJ take a deep breath, making us wonder what he would do. Finally, he shook his head and remained seated so that the whole audience wondered if he was making the right choice in trusting Tony.

Jeff read the votes and we found ourselves in a 3-3 tie. Cliff didn't seem surprised when he saw that third vote against him; he simply turned to Trish as if saying: I'll get you next.
When Jeff revealed the last vote, Lindsey and Woo were both shocked while Tony moved forward in his seat, not wanting to miss any of Cliff's last moments in the game.
While LJ showed his relief, Trish expressed her joy and Jefra said her thanks, Tony simply shook his head.
That was the look of the scorpion wondering why the frog trusted him.

Cliff wished them all luck and left.
Jeff told them that they entered the Council wondering where was the loyalty in the group and that they now had their answer.

The Story

At this time of year, everyone is trying to find the Cinderella that will fit in their brackets. Likewise, we are witnessing Survivor's version of the Cinderella story once more. The former Brains tribe is this season's underdog that will make its way out of the bottom all the way to the top. Survivor has often told this story with slight variations. Really, it goes all the way back to season 1 where, at first, Tagi looked mismatched against the youth and athleticism of Pagong. We also had the Aitu 4, the Jalapao 3 and the Foa Foas overcoming their underdog status to see one of their own claim the prize. For that matter, every season that saw the tribes divided by gender saw the women either dominate or pull out the win in the end, proving they shouldn’t be underestimated. They did let one victory slip through their fingers but that just gave us an even bigger underdog story. Other variations on the same theme included Chuay Gahn who looked too old and weak to compete against Sook Jay and Koror facing the brawn of Ulong even if that feeling didn't last long.

This season, even after Jeff said that Brawn, Brains and Beauty were no more, the "random" swap kept active the battle between intelligence and muscles. For an unscripted show, they seem to follow the script quite often! With that being said, we still have a story to enjoy and that story showed us that Brains versus Brawn is now multiplied by 3! Not only do we have the brains of New Aparri going against the muscles of the New Solana tribe but we have smart players inside each tribe running circles around the dumb ones. The original Aparris and Solanas are fractured while the battle-tested Luzons are sticking together with Spencer staying loyally by Tasha and Kass during the strategy talks with the High Schoolers from the Beauty tribe. It could soon become more tangled than that however because some players are showing signs of understanding this game on both tribes.

The Characters

The Dumb Players

Woo: It what is becoming a habit, a player that looked smart the week before turned out to be the one making the biggest mistake this week. Woo had worked his way into the majority alliance of his tribe but he simply threw it away. It reminded me of what we heard from Fiji where the Explorers forgot about their alliance once the tribes were divided while Earl's Shelter Builders always remembered where everyone stood. Woo knew that Lindsey and Cliff were outsiders within Aparri but he seemed to think that Tony and Trish would forget about their previous plan to eliminate Cliff. He could have easily joined Trish and Tony in their schemes but his blind admiration for Cliff made him lose first his focus and soon the game.

Lindsey: She's always been seen as a Dumb Player so this episode didn't change our thoughts on her even if she was right to say that their biggest opponents were on the other tribe. She had another moment where the audience could agree with her: Trish looked dumb when she flirted with LJ.

Jefra: Were we suppose to see her as a smart player when she was able to guess Lindsey's occupation? I'm not sure if that scene had any significance but she was smart when she found a way to align with Trish, both women bonding over the miserable conditions they faced. With LJ, she is part of Solana's new smart players but her presentation since the premiere can't make us overlook that she was lucky, that the original Aparris already were fractured and that it was LJ's connection with Trish that put her in this nice position. She thanked God when Jeff read the 4th vote against Cliff and, while we could call it "divine" intervention, we wouldn't use a capital G when talking about the Survivor "gods".

Trish: I'm sure many readers were expecting to see her on the smart players’ side even if Trish looked ridiculous playing the role of Mrs. Robinson. Mostly, what hurt her story is that we heard LJ say he was using her school girl crush to his advantage and Tony calling her bipolar and schizo. We also saw that she was the talker, the one revealing all the inside scoop about her old tribe and talking bad about them just like the Beauties on the other tribe. Calling Cliff worthless and Lindsey a ding-a-ling was just as bad as what Alexis. and Morgan said about each other.

Alexis: The scene at the well told us all we needed to know about Alexis' story. She talked too much and was much too eager to flip. A player should know that you never negotiate from a position of weakness so going against 3 opponents at once was a bad idea. She should have approached one of the former Luzon players and started a discussion about their respective positions. She could have found some useful information to use later on instead of giving away all of her tribe's secrets for free.

Jeremiah: We saw that, despite the three days that had elapsed since his previous Council, he still hadn't repaired any of the damage caused by Morgan's revelation. He had to consider that Alexis would have a hard time trusting him and that Morgan, despite her anger, was still alone. A good social player would have gone to each individually to fix things. To Alexis, he could have said that he never considered voting with Morgan and Brice, that he got close to them only to learn what they were planning. To Morgan, he could have offered friendship. Her isolation could have brought her back to him. Instead, like Alexis, he negotiated with Luzon from a position of weakness. His challenge abilities are the only thing that could save him if they go to the next TC. Luzon chose strength once before, they could do the same again.

Alone in the Middle:

Morgan: Even if she was just as much the gossipy teenager as Alexis, Morgan has shown us some moments of intelligence in this game. Even when her day one lie came back to bite her, she realized that she had to find a way to save herself again. We never saw her talking alone with the other members of the tribe so maybe she understands that selling her vote for free isn't the way to gain trust, especially when it's such a buyer's market. When Spencer said that it was nice to go from the moms to the hot girl, it reinforced my idea that Morgan makes it far, at least far enough to make us think that Spencer could make a huge mistake and go with her instead of Kass and Tasha.

The Smart Players:

Sarah: On the surface, the swap really hurt her. It really looked like Survivor's idea of karma when we saw the player that was ready to throw a challenge get payback with some bad luck. Actually, being in the middle and facing 3 members of the other two tribes would have made her a valuable asset if the votes hadn't come by so cheaply. Her only worry was to have Beauty and Brain agree that they had to knock out someone from the Brawn tribe and that Sarah was an easy target. However, Solana's Council will show everyone that there is no need to target Brawn when Bawn is so quick in killing itself. I’ll be very curious to see Sarah's reaction when she learns that her old allies finished the job, getting rid of Cliff for her. It's interesting to see that no one approached Sarah for an alliance in Aparri. Leaving us in the dark about her position suggests that the new Aparri could very well have a date with Jeff next week. On the other hand, with the merge looming, it's also possible that her position in this tribe wasn't shown because they will never go to TC.

LJ: Did he really put all his trust in Tony without talking to him? If so, then maybe he should be on the dumb players's side but the editors are presenting him as a smart player that is willing to take a risk. Viewers will remember his point that using the idol was only a short term gain so that it was smart to hold on to it, but we have to remember that he said that when he was down 5 to 2. As soon as Trish "fell in love" with him, the paradigm changed: Using the idol and getting rid of one opponent would have meant levelling the numbers. His quick story arc from a position of power to the bottom and back up could tie him into the themes of the story as we have seen them up to now but I still think that something is lacking in LJ. It wouldn't surpise me to see him fail when his next big risk doesn't pay off.

Tony: It had been his plan all along to get rid of Cliff, to take over the pride and the game at the same time so it's hard to say where his story is going now that he succeeded without really trying. He hadn't been part of the scheme to throw the challenge, didn't participate in that challenge, he really tried hard, it seems, to win the last immunity challenge and he was ready to get rid of LJ once they lost so this blindside cannot be called his move even if he held all the power in the end. "What happened?" he asked when the weaker tribe banged their gong, suggesting that the game isn't in his hands at all. Still, Tony's story is intertwined with Sarah's so its conclusion will only happen after the merge.

Tasha: Her contributions to both challenges were impressive: She scored a point for her tribe in the reward challenge and she guided the log through the maze to win immunity. The scene in camp right after Tribal Council where the three joked that they'd be the final three because only two entire tribes stood in their way was very telling just as Spencer's vow to be loyal had been last week. She should join her 2 allies in front of the jury to complete their bracket-busting job. Could she beat them in front of the jury? She certainly could but the story showed that she isn't the best of those three at the social game.

Kass: She had a great quote during the opening segment when she said she wanted to win but we've also seen that Kass isn't the most diplomatic player. This episode showed the dilemma she will face when the jury starts questioning them: How will she differentiate herself from Spencer and Tasha? If the jury has a soft spot for the mom that made it all the way to then end then Tasha will steal those votes. If they reward the person that fought his way from the bottom, then they will reward Spencer. And if they give any points for performances during challenges, I don't expect she will Outplay neither Tasha nor Spencer. She didn't even participate in the reward challenge and just rode along during the immunity one. Spencer's strength brought them back in the contest while Tasha's directions won it.

Spencer: Although Tony, Sarah, LJ, Kass and Tasha have very good stories and could all be seen as being edited to win, Spencer's story outshines them all. Even when Tasha was giving the directions during the maze, Jeff gave the credit to all the members of the former Brains tribe. In the first minutes of the season, he told us that he would play an amazing game and we'd have to agree with that statement if he is to make it all the way to the end. It was his confessional right after the swap that told us why the three ex-members of Luzon will prevail: The others are too quick to flip on their allies. Staying loyal sounds like the winning strategy and we heard him promise his loyalty.

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suzzee 5413 desperate attention whore postings
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03-24-14, 10:33 AM (EST)
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28. "RE: Episode 5 - It Doesn't Seem Fair"
Why wasn't Tony thinking about getting that clue, you ask? Well the reward included doughnuts and there is this thing with cops... LOL, that's where I went when I saw the reward.

Trish = cougar. Probably put in the show to point out some more reasons for the coming apocalypse between her and Lindsey.

" I am putting a boatload of trust into Trish and Tony thinking they are going to deliver tonight. If they start to spill their guts, I will know whether they are playing one big whole game to get me out of there and then I will play my idol if I need to."

This quote, in conjunction with the high praise given to LJ by Tony really reinforces LJ's skills. Very astute planning going into TC, I'm a little impressed with him. He looks to outlast both Trish and Tony. (LJ is 34, according to CBS. Much closer to Lindsey's 29 then Trish's 48 but hardly a 20 year old. Jealous much Lindsey?)

I should be watched....closely.

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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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03-21-14, 11:23 PM (EST)
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26. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
LAST EDITED ON 03-22-14 AT 01:11 AM (EST)

By this time in a Season’s story, I think that it can be instructive to make note of how much (or how little) disconnect has developed between how the Game’s participants saw themselves at its beginning and how Survivor’s editors would have us see them now. For instance –

Spencer: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like – “The cleverness and strategic planning of Stephen, but the personality of Marty. Like Marty, I am a natural leader and can come off as pompous or bombastic. Also, I shared Marty’s disdain for Jane on S21.”

Tony: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like – “Russell Hantz, because I can be just as devious. Boston Rob, because I can be just as slick.”

Sarah: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like - "I’m one of a kind. If I had to pick I’d say Malcolm. He’s nice, but very strategic and tasteful about it."

LJ: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like – “Boston Rob, because he has just the right amount of charm, charisma and looks to persuade anyone to do what he wants.”

Kass: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like – “Sandra, she didn’t seem to be in it for anything but winning money for her family.”

Tasha: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like – “Ozzy, due to his physical play, and Sandra, who did what she had to do to win and not be apologetic.”

And although I'm not sure who's winning this particular less-is-best contest, I do know that Tony is losing it .


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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-22-14, 03:40 PM (EST)
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27. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "
Good idea Georgianna. How do you see them now?
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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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03-25-14, 01:42 PM (EST)
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29. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "

Thank you for your interest.

I hope to have a decent answer to your question shortly. It's a bit chaotic in my clan at the moment.

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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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04-02-14, 09:06 AM (EST)
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40. "RE: Survivor Cagayan: The Characters and their Stories "

I'm sorry that this reply has taken me so long to post. But, in truth, I was hoping that either you, or another of the editing gurus here, would step in and save me:

Because I think that it can be useful to know just how far apart a player's perception of his 'style' and production's portrayal of that 'style' actually is, my intention was to drop off the contestants' pre-season impressions of themselves vis a vis veteran Survivors and to ask how the collective you believed that the show's 'editors would have us see them now'. I just left out the defining punctuation ...

Now, though, you've asked me a different question. And because I don't watch Survivor with its editors' methods and purposes in mind, I'm not at all sure that 'how (I) see them now' is relevant. At all.

But, I'll give it a shot. Perhaps my distance from the mark will encourage better-informed contributions.

Spencer: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
“The cleverness and strategic planning of Stephen, but the personality of Marty.
Like Marty, I am a natural leader and can come off as pompous or bombastic.
Also, I shared Marty’s disdain for Jane on S21.”

I don't think that Spencer is, or that the editing portrays him as, "clever" or "strategic". Or anything like Stephen. Virtually nothing "clever" or "strategic" that has happened in the Game thus far has been attributable to Spencer. He, like Kass and Tasha, has survived. Nothing more.

I do think that he is a natural leader. And I wouldn't argue with his comparison of himself to Marty (I think that he is about to become 'bombastic'). I, though, would compare him to JT (and GC). People do come to him. And he is able to project believable humility, gratitude and empathy (when he really tries). Too, like JT, he has a boyish demeanor that masks his enormous self-interest (a prop that Marty would have killed for).

I also think that, as the Game progresses, he will find that controlling his emotions (in particular, his 'distain') will become increasingly difficult. As will controlling his intolerance of the Game's forced intimacy (as did GC). Remembering The Kingston Trio - I think that Spencer 'doesn't like anybody very much' ...

Perhaps his self-image does foretell his failure to win the Game. But, I think that he just might pull it off. However, I also think that he would need a 'Stephen' to make that happen. And I don't have a firm candidate. You seem to think that he has one (or two) in Kass and/or Tasha?

Tony: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
“Russell Hantz, because I can be just as devious.
Boston Rob, because I can be just as slick.”

Just when I thought that I could honestly say that Tony's self-image wasn't even on the same island with his portrayal, Tony's giggly, grinning, self-congratulatory, joyous glee burst upon the scene. And I love pure, unapologetic, righteously-earned, glee. Like Russell Hantz's - early on. When he still loved the Game. And Rob's. On all the occasions when he did.

Tony blows a lot of 'I'm only in it to win it!' about, but I think that the fact is that he loves playing games. Any game.

So, although Tony is about as devious as a bulldozer (although he is innovative) and as slick as a cactus (although his enthusiasm is infectious) and I am informed enough to know that the glee wasn't a good thing - then or now - the island does appear to be big enough for both what Tony thinks of himself and what others think of him.

Unfortunately, Russell is a superb counselor and Rob is a born leader. And Tony is neither of those things. But I've come to what I think is a legitimate hope that he will outlast many of his tribemates. And watch that seal his fate at the next TC.

Sarah: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
"I’m one of a kind. If I had to pick I’d say Malcolm.
He’s nice, but very strategic and tasteful about it."

And that is, I think, a very diplomatic (and clever) answer. I do think that she is somewhat like Malcolm. Nice. And that, when she chooses to involve herself in strategy, she tries to be tasteful about it. I think that she admires tact and accomplished language (interview) skills and that it is telling that she was selected as Aparri's initial leader.

I think that she probably considered Tony's glee a crass exhibition. I don't think that she'll rejoin him. I think that she might choose to defect to his alliance, though. Spencer's dance card is full.

I've noticed that in your latest summary, you've included Sarah in the group of "Emotional" players. I disagree. I think that what we've seen is a player struggling to come to a decision about her fellow police officer and then confused by her own poor judgement. So, if anything, I think that we've been shown a young woman who overthinks issues. But, I do also think that her collegial impulses will continue to get in the way of her considerable strategic skills and that it would be extremely beneficial to both if she were to make an F2 Alliance with a less clinically-skilled but more single-minded and determined player. Someone a bit more like Malcolm.

I don't think that Sarah wins the Game. I hope that she comes close.

Note: I think that in Survivor's crisis culture, the players who are most successful are the ones who play the Game most comfortably - within their own skin. And one of the few glimpses of their core personalities that we have at our disposal are these self-assessments. So that if there is a disconnect between a Survivor's image of herself and the one that we see on our screens, one to three things happened. Only the last is - potentially - a good thing:

1. The player (deliberately or innocently) distorted her self-portrait.
2. The player (voluntarily or involuntarily) chose to play the Game in masquerade.
3. Survivor's editors deliberately (they are professionsals) distorted her image.

All things considered, I think that the most honest representation of a player in the three examples above is Sarah's.

To be continued (with the three players below). If you think it's worth my effort and your time ...

LJ: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
“Boston Rob, because he has just the right amount of charm, charisma and looks
to persuade anyone to do what he wants.”

Kass: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
“Sandra, she didn’t seem to be in it for anything
but winning money for her family.”

Tasha: Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like
“Ozzy, due to his physical play,
and Sandra, who did what she had to do to win
and not be apologetic.”

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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03-29-14, 11:04 AM (EST)
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30. "Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
The recap started with Jeff saying: “Brawn, Brains and Beauty were no more. They were divided into 2 tribes, the new Solana tribe and the new Aparri tribe.
Sarah was heard saying: “I am the only original Aparri member on a tribe with 3 Brains and 3 Beauties.”

The former Beauty tribe began to turn on each other ... and the former Brain tribe used it to gain control.
Spencer in confessional: “The fact that they are this divided shows that we can play them against each other.”

Meanwhile, over at Solana, the former Brawn tribe enjoyed a 5-2 advantage over LJ and Jefra ... but it couldn’t mend old feuds.
At the last immunity challenge, Solana lost.

Facing Tribal Council, the former Brawn tribe was focused on getting rid of LJ ... But Trish and Tony saw a chance to take out an even bigger threat.

It was Tony’s confessional that was shown, the one where he said that Cliff was very influential which made him dangerous.

At Tribal Council, Trish and Tony got their wish, blindsiding Cliff and his allies.

This recap is amazing in how it spun the previous episode, giving a lot more importance to Tony than Trish by using his confessional to set up Cliff’s blindside. It’s as if he never really considered eliminating LJ; that the whole plan was as much his idea as Trish’s.

The recap wasn’t kind to LJ, Jeff forgetting that he had made a big gamble by keeping his idol, trusting Tony. It paid off but since it wasn’t emphasized it probably won’t amount to much in the end.

We heard thunder when the players left Tribal Council and they were greeted by war drums when they arrived in camp.

Trish wanted to explain her move but Lindsey wouldn’t hear, saying flatly that they had screwed up majorly.
Trish had a confessional: “We totally bamboozled Cliff. He had no idea that he was going home tonight.”
Trish told Lindsey she didn’t like her which ignited Lindsey who told her she was annoying and disgusting. Woo, LJ and Jefra looked uncomfortable at the scene but Tony was enjoying it, probably remembering the last time he arrested two drunken girls after closing time. He stepped in like a good cop and told them to stop.

Lindsey went off on her own first to give a confessional: “Trisha is a bully; she’s got a mouth that is as big as a horse...”
The tribe then realized she was still out there, alone during a cold night. We soon saw Jeff walk down the beach to join Lindsey who had asked for him because she wanted to get out of the situation before flipping out. She didn’t want her daughter seeing her act like that.

Jeff, who must have thought that his job was done for a day or so, didn’t put much of an effort to change Lindsey’s mind. Instead he seemed happy about a Survivor first: A player removing herself from the game before doing something she would regret.

(Well, Kathleen considered chopping off one of her fingers to force a medical evacuation. She asked to be removed from the game before doing something she would regret, but it didn’t make it on air so, for Jeff, it doesn’t matter.)

He walked over to Solana with the news that Lindsey had quit.
Trish had a confessional in which she told us she wanted to go look for Lindsey because she didn’t want her to injure herself.
It’s funny that she can say she was worried about Lindsey when we saw that she was sleeping in the back of the shelter.

Tony also had a confessional: “Just as we expected: We turn the head, the body always follows. She was the body, Cliff was the head, she followed right behind him out the exit door and it was a beautiful thing: Two for the price of one.”

While Tony is much more honest than Trish about his feelings, we can’t say that it paints him in a nice color. Even if Lindsey wasn’t a likeable character, we still can say that we have found our two villains.

LJ compared the situation (or did he mean Lindsey?) to a huge, volatile zit waiting to pop and once it did ... Woo picked up the sentence by saying that now they could start fresh.
Woo had the last confessional of the night: “Prior to Tribal Council I was aligned with Cliff and Lindsey so ... now it puts me in a really tough position. If we were going to Tribal Council, I could definitely project myself going.”

The Reward Challenge:

The reactions from Aparri were priceless. First, Sarah’s smile after seeing the new Solana was a dead giveaway. Jeff noticed that she couldn’t contain herself: “This is insane.”

The only one with a bigger smile than Sarah’s was Alexis

She told Jeff: “I’m happy to see our Beauties still standing. You know, I’m happy of course.”

If Alexis wants an explanation for her elimination, she simply needs to look at this moment. Her emotions took the heat off Sarah who could have cost herself the game when she shared a fist pump with Trish but Alexis outdid her, making it so obvious that the alliance of the Beauties had to be dismantled.

Spencer was also asked for his thoughts: “Two people are out of the game and I didn’t have to do anything. It bothers me that someone quit, I really don’t like that but I am going to take it. My odds just got better and I didn’t have to do a thing.”

With these words, Spencer is talking for the viewers who don’t like quitters either but they will take it since Lindsey wasn’t their favorite. In this brief comment, Spencer told us how he could make it to the end: He simply has to let them knock out each other. It takes brains to play like that!

It’s funny that they ran the challenge with the same rules as the last time considering Skupin broke this challenge: You don’t have to keep your idol in place; you just have to make sure it lands on the sand after your opponent’s. The best way to win is to throw your idol up in the air and lunge at your opponent. Only Spencer used the trick in his first battle with Woo but the martial arts expert didn’t give him a second chance, pouncing before Spencer expected.
Jeff said that Trish was swatting Tasha away “like a little gnat”.
Morgan didn’t appreciate the joke that LJ made, warning Tony not to be distracted because, like Jeff pointed out, he would get sucked in.

When Woo and Tony were selected for the raid, the Jersey cop told Jeff: “I know Aparri inside and out, that’s why I am going.”

If Tony gets blindsided by this tribe this will be a marvelous quote to remember. He may have known that Old Aparri tribe but this is a new Aparri with some Brains in there. I think we have been told how the merge vote will turn out: Tony will be confident that he has the numbers because he knows Aparri inside out but Sarah will surprise him, choosing the new Aparri.

As for the raid and the major blow Jeff said it would inflict on the losers, let’s not forget that Jeff knew they were only a few days away from the merge. This raid was more for the interactions than the reward. On that point, Tony and Woo could have used the time to create bonds like Danni did when she got production to let her have a birthday party, but the two men chose to cause trouble.

Tony had a voice over confessional while we saw the tribes leaving the challenge arena: “There is so much energy now that Cliff is gone and now that Lindsey’s gone. We went in there and made a statement: We are less in numbers but we are high in morale and we showed it in there. We won the challenge.”

Aparri – Day 15

The war drums were back, telling us that this wouldn’t be a friendly visit.

Tasha in confessional: “... When Tony and Woo came, our hearts dropped. I came from Luzon and we were living in pretty bad conditions but when we got to Aparri, this was like the lap of luxury. Who knew (or was it Woo knew?) that it could be so short lived?”

Tony read the instructions telling them what they were allowed to take. He then took the second message which was a clue to the idol back at their camp, the one that LJ found.

Tony in confessional: “Woo and I read it and it didn’t pertain to the Aparri beach, it pertained to the Solana tribe where we have a wall of rocks.” Immediately, Tony came up with the idea that they should pretend they had to give the clue to someone. He chose Jeremiah, hoping the target would get him voted out. His confessional continued: “I think it would be great to oust one of these people, to stir up the pot and the strongest person on the Aparri team right now is Jeremiah.”

As ingenious as the idea appeared, if it had been a clue to the idol, wouldn’t Tony and Woo have given it to Sarah? They made it look like Aparri doubted Jeremiah when he told them that it was Solana’s clue but it seems that only someone like Alexis would fall for it, that smart players like Spencer, Tasha and Kass would eventually figure out that it was a trick.

Tasha in confessional: “Tony and Woo decide to give a clue to a hidden immunity idol to Jeremiah. So, honestly, I think they are sending a signal to Jeremiah saying that: We want to work with you.”

Tony's confessional: “I give Jeremiah the clue and I’m sure it is going through everybody’s mind; why is Jeremiah getting the clue? What’s going on? Their wheels are spinning.”
Giving us Tasha’s immediate reaction creates suspense, makes us think that Tony will get his way again. It also shows that, like Sarah, Tasha fell for Tony’s lies.

Jeremiah had a confessional after reading the clue: “It’s the exact same clue that we had at the Beauty tribe ... Tony and Woo, they don’t know me from Adam. They just said we are going to give it to him. I’ve got six people watching me, watching every move I make. I might be the next one voted out.”

Solana - Day 15

Just before the raiders returned, we saw that someone wrote a message in the sand for Lindsey: “Shame on you, Lindsie” it read.

Jefra gave us a confessional: “Tony and Woo brought back tons of comfort items ... Things that LJ and I haven’t gotten to enjoy from the very beginning.” So proud of his prank, Tony was quick to tell everyone that he had put “a big, illuminated target” on Jeremiah’s back. Jefra’s confessional continued: “Tony is playing this game full out, hardcore, balls to the walls, every way possible. He’s lying, stealing and cheating. I’m just glad he’s on my side. ”

If even Jefra can tell that Tony is playing too hard then it’s easy to realize that Tony made a mistake. Yet, he was about to outdo himself!

Tony told everyone that he really was a police officer; that he had lied about being in construction.
Tony (solo): “I was on the Aparri tribe for 13 days and I had nothing for them, nothing. No feelings for any of them except for Trish. I come here to the new Solana tribe and we just bonded. It’s just harmonious now.”
While Woo and Trish were impressed, LJ put his finger on Tony’s mistake.

LJ in confessional: “So, to solidify that he is trustworthy, Tony exposed that he lied. Different. I didn’t peg him as a smart guy but he has a lot on his mind and he’s not a dummy by any means and I realize with him revealing all this stuff that I do have to be on my toes at every single point in the game.”

With Tony telling us that he had no feelings for his old tribe, that he likes this new tribe, we see another example that it is bad to mix your emotions with the game. This theme was first mentioned in episode 1 when LJ told us that Morgan was calm and collected. Lindsey said that Tony and Trish made a major mistake by playing with their emotions and we know that Alexis hurt her own game when she showed her emotions at the reward challenge.
This season saw a poker player get eliminated during the premiere so it’s funny to think that we are looking for a player with a good poker face to be our winner. Spencer had a confessional where he told us that he had to keep his calm around the women. It takes a much deeper significance under this angle. His simple reaction at the reward contrasted with all of his tribe mates. He acknowledged that it was good but didn’t make a big deal out of it.

Jefra was the first to propose that this five should stick together. Tony agreed to it immediately.

Aparri - Day 15

Alexis was still talking about the raid: “Tony and Woo ... picked Jeremiah which got so many minds thinking and really stirred stuff up over here. I need to clean it up and make things more clear cut. The one person that I think is the most untrustworthy is Jeremiah.”
She took a walk in the woods with Spencer in order to throw Jeremiah under the bus.

Spencer in confessional: “Alexis came up to me and it was almost as if she had planned what she was going to say which suggests to me that she could be playing us a little bit. I think Alexis is a little smarter than she likes to let on. I like girls who own how smart they are and what they can do. Alexis is pretty phoney to me and that hurts her. She’s not to be trusted as far as making moves.”

Luckily for Spencer, Alexis wasn’t always shown as a dummy; she had that scene where she got everyone to agree on her plan to split the vote. We can’t say that Spencer completely misread the situation even if his opinion may have changed after watching the egg discussion. It would have been better to say that Alexis understood the game enough that she shouldn’t be trusted but this still works as a way to tell us that he isn’t being fooled by her.

Spencer was next seen cutting wood with Jeremiah and Alexis. He went straight for the flaw in Tony’s scheme, asking the male model: “Why do you think they gave the thing to you instead of Sarah?”
Jeremiah made a great argument when he said: “We lost so why would we get a clue?”
Even when he told them that it was the same clue they had back at Solana, Alexis said it didn’t make sense, but Jeremiah insisted that Tony was calling him out, hoping to get him voted out.

Jeremiah in confessional: “The clue that I got from Tony was the same that we had at the other tribe. He said he had to take it back with him so I handed it back to him and he took off. Tony’s made a mess for me now I’ve got to work my way through it.”
Spencer also had a confessional: “Jeremiah’s story is tough to buy. I think that Jeremiah got a new clue. It was wrapped, it was a new clue. It looked like a clue to an idol that is actually here. He’s not fooling anyone.”

Spencer was shirtless when he gave us this confessional but he had been wearing his green shirt when he asked Jeremiah why he thought he had received the clue. Spencer had been shirtless right after the challenge so I believe these scenes were inverted to make us think that Jeremiah was in more danger than he really was. When he first saw the clue and heard Jeremiah’s original explanation, Spencer, like Tasha, thought that Jeremiah was lying to them but they had time to realize that it didn’t make sense to give it to him instead of Sarah. Granted, it doesn’t take long to remove a T-shirt but the afternoon had passed and it would be weird for anyone to remove a shirt that had just been put on. I believe that Spencer was now convinced that Tony was putting a target on Jeremiah’s back. We didn’t hear more talk about the idol from any of the Brain tribe because it probably became a moot point.

The Immunity Challenge

Despite an early lead after placing their poles, Aparri got to the end of the maze tied with Solana. Tony lost some ground to Jeremiah on the keys so Spencer and Sarah had a lead when they started on their puzzle. It wasn’t enough because LJ was the first to figure out the second number. If you looked carefully, you could see that Trish was going to join Woo on the puzzle! They moved too early so Jeff had to call them back until everyone was on the mat. Thankfully for them, LJ was now the one going with Woo. I do have to ask though: Why did the combination have to be the same for both? Wouldn’t it have been better to give them a different combination so that they couldn’t simply copy each other?

While Jeff did credit LJ for figuring it out, he also said that the horse trainer sank deep in the mud and took a big fall in the end. It makes me wonder if a big fall is in his future.

As soon as their flag was raised, Tony started showing his emotions again, yelling “Top Five! Top Five, baby!” Everyone could hear, including Sarah.

Sarah in voice-over confessional as a dejected Aparri headed back to camp: “Tony shouting out “Yeah! Top Five! We made the Final 5!” I counted five people over there and I wasn’t standing over there. I think that is a pretty tell-tale sign that I am not included in their future plans so I guess I am moving on and I am making a new alliance.”

Well, it would have been a great way to help Sarah avoid the vote if Tony had been thinking of protecting his Cops R Us ally but we heard him say that he had no feelings for anyone besides Trish on his old tribe. Tony is slipping more and more into the “Dumb Player” role.

Solana – Day 16

Following a familiar pattern, the player about to be eliminated had the first confessional of the scrambling phase. Alexis told us she hated Tribal Council.
Jeremiah told everyone that Tony made the dumbest mistake on Earth.
Spencer agreed, saying they would still be 6 against their 5.
Alexis talked more in confessional, saying that she thought Tony was celebrating because they thought they had Jeremiah on board.
Alexis talked to Morgan, Spencer, Sarah, Tasha and Kass in the ocean, telling them that Jeremiah had to be Solana’s sixth; that he needed to be voted out.

Spencer in confessional: “Alexis tried to convince us that we need to blindside Jeremiah. Alexis is trying to make us think that Jeremiah will flip.” We heard Sarah promising everyone that she would not flip. Spencer went on: “The Brain tribe could really go either way right now. In a merge situation, Jeremiah is a liability. It’s a question of who is the bigger liability. Jeremiah or Alexis? Both have connections on the other side, both could potentially make deals that could hurt us. We’ll say yes to Alexis’ plan, we will tell her that Jeremiah getting blindsided makes sense for us and then we will make the decision of what actually makes sense for us.”

We then saw the brain trust (the final 3!?) sitting on a log. The music was suspenseful, the moment dramatic...or so it seemed.

Kass had a confessional: “For tonight, it does seem like the Brains are in control. Everyone knows that we are three tight people and we are going to vote as a bloc. We could go with Alexis and get rid of Jeremiah or we can just vote out Alexis. Everyone is going to follow our lead. So I think the Brains are in a great position. We just needed people to boss around. The Brain needed a body. We found our zombies now we’re in.”
Could this foreshadow that the Brains have peaked too early? If everyone knows that they are tight, Kass should see the warning signs. What could she have done? Maybe start laying the groundwork with either Sarah or Morgan that she isn’t planning of going all the way to the end as a tricephalous entity. However, this confessional was too funny to pass up, even containing the episode’s title quote so I wouldn’t read too much of a warning sign into it.

Tribal Council

For those that compared Sarah to Denise, Jeff reminded us that she still didn’t have a torch, that this was her first Tribal Council.
Jeff looked at the seating arrangements and asked Kass if Sarah was seated in the middle.
Kass agreed that it was indeed Sarah sitting in the middle.
Jeff now asked Morgan if she was tight with the Beauties.
Morgan said that Jeremiah used and abused her.
Jeremiah admitted to cheating on Morgan so he had to give her some space.
Kass told Jeff that she was happy to hear that the Beautiful people were on a soap opera. She added that what the Brains went through brought them together whereas what the Beauties went through drove them apart.
Spencer said they had to fix the fractures and go forward with a unified tribe.
Sarah told Jeff that she figured out she was alone because of Tony’s actions at the challenge. She added: “They moved on without me so it’s time for me to cut ties with them.”
Alexis said it was good to hear Sarah say that but that there was still room for someone to reconnect with the other side.
Tasha told Jeff directly that the Beauties were in trouble.
Asked about the raid, Alexis told Jeff that Jeremiah was pulled aside by Tony and Woo.
Jeremiah told Jeff that it put a huge target on his back.
Morgan pointed out that both Alexis and Jeremiah could flip after the merge.
Jeff noticed that Tasha was really interested to hear that.
Sarah said she was good with anything that removed the heat from her and that she was solid with this tribe. She added: “There is one person here that will go with the other side.”
Alexis agreed with that because she thought her word was good contrary to Jeremiah’s.
Spencer talked about the future of the game when he said: “If we make the wrong move we are 11th, 10th 9th, 8th and 7th place ...It is probably the most important decision we’ve made so far.”
Receiving a third vote shocked Alexis. Morgan smiled and Jeremiah exhaled when Jeff read the 5th vote. Alexis could barely look at Jeff when he snuffed her torch. She started crying as soon as she reached the steps.
Jeff sent them back to camp after telling them: “It was a big vote and you were unified in your decision to vote out Alexis. The lingering question as you head back to camp: How deep does that unity run?”
Well Jeff, that practically told them to expect a merger, didn’t it?!

The Story

There is a trend that sticks out this season I think more so than in any of the previous ones: We have had many players realizing they were on the bottom of the pecking order at one point or another. It started with Morgan and Trish after the initial twist, then it Kass’ turn after David’s elimination. Tasha and J’Tia realized they were on the bottom when Garrett revealed that he had a deal with Kass. That blunder led to Spencer’s trip to the bottom where he stayed up to the swap.

Tony also felt alone when Cliff had the tribe wrapped around his fingers. LJ, Jefra and Sarah realized the cruelty of the game when they went from a comfortable position in their original tribes to obvious targets in their new ones. Lindsey and Woo felt they were on the bottom after Cliff’s elimination and Jeremiah saw his situation change drastically when he was targeted by Tony and Woo.

What is even more amazing is that, except for J’Tia, none of these players have been voted out. Granted, Lindsey has left the game but she wasn’t voted out.

We know that editors don’t waste time with unimportant story lines; that everyone playing Survivor feels that their game could end at any moment when they go to Tribal Council, but we don’t usually hear about everyone’s fears. The clutter would render the episodes unwatchable so the edit cuts to the chase and usually presents us with only a couple of boot options. Often, when one doesn’t leave one week, they are gone the next. However, there is more than just editing here; these players seem more aware of their situation than many of the previous ones. (Think of Edna and even Oscar in South Pacific)

The importance attached to players that have been on the bottom has not only made for a lively narrative, it has led us on our search for the long term players and the eventual winner. Of course, if everyone makes a trip to the bottom of the pecking order we aren’t taking a big risk by saying that the winner will have been portrayed as being in danger at some point.

We have to differentiate between these players, find something in their story that enables us to say why that person got out of trouble and made his way all the way to the winner’s circle. I feel that LJ’s “Calm and Collected” comment is the key. Not all players that have been on the bottom have reacted the same way so we should turn our attention to those that didn’t panic but made smart decisions to get out of trouble, the ones that are clinical players. Those that were shown playing emotionally are probably destined to fail at some point.

The Characters

The Emotional Players:

Trish: She fell to the bottom of the Aparri pecking order right off the bat and while her decision to take the extra rice was well received, we can’t say that it was smart because Tony immediately told us it was the wrong one. Anyway, she was still on the bottom when Tony’s lies saved her so we can’t even say she got herself out of trouble. If that wasn’t enough, she even admitted that she was playing with her emotions. Her fist pump at the reward challenge when Aparri saw that Cliff had been voted out showed everyone that she was responsible. That should put a target on her back sooner than she thinks and she won’t know how to get out of trouble this time.

Tasha: Tasha didn’t stay long on the bottom: She realized she was in trouble, that something was wrong, as soon as Garrett didn’t want to talk strategy. Her emotional reaction worked but, editing wise, it makes me think that she won’t handle the stress of the end game very well. She had a minimal role in the episode where the Brains finally got some control over the game so it tells us that it isn’t Tasha’s game.

Tony: How can someone ruin a brilliant game so quickly? Simple: One starts believing that they cannot fail, that they are smarter than everybody else. Tony’s original plan was to hide that he was a huge schemer but now even Jefra sees through him. LJ said it best: Tony didn’t find the best way to make himself look trustworthy. His screams of Top Five could have worked if they were part of a plan to save Sarah but that would have been needed only if it was LJ who had been voted out and Jefra had quit as a result. We have to believe that it wasn’t part of a plan: Tony was so excited with his new team that he forgot which game he was playing.

Sarah: The scene at the reward challenge told us that Sarah isn’t a very clinical player. Cliff’s elimination was good for her because it showed her new tribe mates that the Brawn tribe wasn’t a solid group. However, it would have helped her even more if she could have convinced everyone that this vote wasn’t what she wanted, that she had been with Cliff.

However, if an emotional player were to win this season, it would be Sarah. The biggest problem with her story was her gullibility. We frequently saw that she fell for all of Tony’s lies so, for someone that was proud of her ability to see the truth, we couldn’t reconcile her portrayal with a winner’s edit. Now that the scales have fallen from her eyes enabling her to make plans that won’t include Tony, we could say that she is on the right path.

There is still the matter of the thrown challenge though. It is especially damning considering that this police officer immediately thought that a black man was guilty and she didn’t even give him a chance to prove his innocence. We know that the editors protected Tom in Palau, deciding not to air his talk with Gregg about throwing the last Tribal Immunity Challenge to get rid of Coby. Much like with Aparris’s plan, Stephenie and BJ were so terrible at puzzles that Coby won it on his own even if Gregg went as slow as he possibly could. Since her plan failed, I have to believe the editors would have removed all the evidence, covering up their winner’s mess. .. if she was the winner. For me, Sarah will be the enabler, the one that decides which way the game goes but she will reach a point where she will have to realize she should have done things differently. Sarah’s story, like all journey edits, is sending her towards a realization rather than a million dollars.

The Lucky Ones

Jefra: She is probably the only one left that didn’t have an “I’m all alone” or “I’m next” confessional. She was in danger before Trish’s power play (yes Jeff, Trish’s power play, not Tony’s!) and she made a smart decision by talking to Trish, agreeing with her that Cliff was shady and that the storm had been terrible. That was enough to create a bond and now she sees herself in the top five.

Woo: He seems to be made of Teflon because nothing sticks to Woo. He certainly was in trouble after Cliff’s elimination and he was well aware of his situation but we can’t say that he made anything to get out of trouble. Even if he did nothing but hold up the puzzle pieces for LJ, he suddenly found himself in Tony’s Top Five.

Jeremiah: I know I wrote that he was smart to point out they couldn’t have earned a clue to the idol because they lost the challenge but it wasn’t edited that way. Instead we heard an out-of-sequence confessional by Spencer to make us think that Jeremiah hadn’t convinced anyone. The montage made us feel that Jeremiah was simply lucky that everyone saw Alexis as a bigger risk. It wasn’t even close though as Sarah’s comment and Morgan’s vote confessional revealed. Alexis didn’t stand a chance.

LJ: The horse trainer knew he was in danger during the previous Tribal Council but the way it was edited and knowing how untrustworthy Tony actually is, we can say that LJ was extremely lucky that he didn’t leave with an idol in pocket. No one will say it was smart to keep that idol. Incredibly courageous but courage isn’t a sign of intelligence. He is in a weird position, seemingly content to be in a strong group of five even if that group is in the minority and he’s not even able to trust the man in charge of his alliance. Where can he go now that the other side has eliminated his cuddling buddy? LJ is smart enough to realize that Alexis was voted out because of their connection so he has very limited options.

The Smart Ones

Morgan: It was a very quiet episode for a hot girl but she got her way. After so many episodes where she was in trouble but stayed calm, she had a moment to rejoice. The smile she flashed when Alexis got her torch snuffed had to come from picturing the next time LJ will see the new Aparri tribe. The “Hot Girl with a Grudge” got rid of LJ’s island girlfriend, the time to take care of him is approaching and now Morgan has more than one ally. That confidence could very well be her downfall but I continue to think she will last close to the end, so that the audience will wonder if Spencer will blow it all by going with the hot girl instead of the moms.

Kass: I’m not sure if Kass fits in this group because she certainly wasn’t always calm and collected, especially when she made the last minute decision at Tribal Council to keep Spencer over J’Tia. Still, she didn’t panic when she saw David get the boot. Instead, she listened to Garrett and Tasha’s offer and went with what she thought was her best option. She is still keeping her calm even if the Brains are finally taking control of the zombies. The trouble is that her calm will soon be mistaken for lack of involvement.

Spencer: We have to go back to his episode 3 confessional to see that Spencer was calm and collected when he found himself in the bottom. "It's weird being the only guy in the tribe. I have to be patient; I have to manage my emotions. I can't get too down and take my shot to get out of this tribe alive." He got out of Luzon and he is now thriving.

To those who wonder why Spencer would win in a Final 3 against Kass and Tasha, this episode gave us more clues: The editors use him much more than the other two to present the story. It was Spencer that told Jeff what it meant to see two players leave from the other side. His confessionals about the crucial decision between Alexis and Jeremiah were much more detailed and his interventions at Tribal Council showed that he clearly had his eyes turned to the future, looking many steps ahead.

More than that even, we see that the other players talk to him, not Tasha and Kass: Alexis talked to him to plead her case and it was Spencer that went to Jeremiah to get an explanation that seemed to satisfy everyone because they voted in unison. Kass and Tasha look a lot like Stephen in Tocantins: They prefer to stand back, letting Spencer gather the information and discuss it all between them. The problem is that the other players are dealing with Spencer so they see him as the decision maker, the others as followers.

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suzzee 5413 desperate attention whore postings
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03-31-14, 11:27 AM (EST)
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31. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
Thanks for the review Michel, I look forward to your thoughts.

Skupin broke this challenge: You don’t have to keep your idol in place; you just have to make sure it lands on the sand after your opponent’s. The best way to win is to throw your idol up in the air and lunge at your opponent.

Some long time fans this bunch is. As for Spencer, I think his toss was accidental but that the others didn't catch on in that instant leads me to believe that long time fan means "That one season I watched seemed to take forever."

Why did the combination have to be the same for both? Wouldn’t it have been better to give them a different combination so that they couldn’t simply copy each other?

I don't think it mattered if the combination was the same, the ones who got the boards together first would win because turning the lock tumblers didn't take any time at all. Keeping the combination the same could keep the finish closer because there is nothing more boring then a team with a huge lead at the end of a contest, and we can't have that.

You know, I was thinking (ouch). Are Jeff's pre-game cast assessments really from pre-game. As much as Jeff likes to be in the know, I have to wonder if those assessments are made before any game play. At this point in Survivor, this would be the only way Jeff could "play along with the audience" kind of a personal test of "How would I do at guessing the outcome of the season."

The reason I'm wondering is because of the turnaround Jeff made on his original perception of Spencer. He thought he had no chance then Spencer played a different game then his interviews led Jeff to believe and now Jeff backtracked a bit to give a reasonable explanation of why at first Jeff thought Spencer wouldn't last long.

Anyway, thanks again for the efforts Michel. ta ta

Suzzopolis by Tribe

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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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03-31-14, 12:15 PM (EST)
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32. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
I'm looking forward to Michel's answer too, Suzzee. Because I am miserable at translating edits and have come to this thread (and its predecessor) for years to have it done for me ...

And this whole thing with Spencer fascinates me. Because, unless I'm mistaken, it is very rare for Jeff Probst to acknowledge that his assessment of a player was - wrong. And I wonder what the fact that he has acknowledged his mistake means in terms of Spencer's longevity in the Game. I know that a consensus that he is the Season's winner is building.

I am particularly curious because Survivor's contestants are subjected to a battery of psychological/personality tests before filming begins. And I would think that JP has complete access to their results. In fact, in his capacity as a producer, I would think that they would be required reading.

So I wonder if anyone else would agree that perhaps what 'changed' about Spencer was the exposure of a demonstrated ability to control his emotions - he's commented on his determination to do just that in more than one confessional - that all of that testing somehow - missed.

If that's so, that's - reassuring. Tests, I think, are meant to be beaten.

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03-31-14, 06:49 PM (EST)
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33. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
LAST EDITED ON 03-31-14 AT 06:50 PM (EST)

I am particularly curious because Survivor's contestants are subjected to a battery of psychological/personality tests before filming begins. And I would think that JP has complete access to their results. In fact, in his capacity as a producer, I would think that they would be required reading.

So I wonder if anyone else would agree that perhaps what 'changed' about Spencer was the exposure of a demonstrated ability to control his emotions - he's commented on his determination to do just that in more than one confessional - that all of that testing somehow - missed.

If that's so, that's - reassuring. Tests, I think, are meant to be beaten.

If I had to make a guess, I think Spencer might've played up these qualities in all of his interviews, so he could get on the show.

Spencer is a superfan, so he probably knows this story (although it's not unique to my example). Brian Corridan, from Survivor Guatemala, described in several interviews about how he deliberately mouthed off to the producers and played up his "arrogant know-it-all" angle because he thought that's what the producers were looking for. Just gotta exaggerate, exaggerate, exaggerate until you're on the beach, and then you can go back to being a more balanced, less-insane individual. I've also heard that Sophie Clarke, from South Pacific, did basically the exact same thing.

It seems to be the basic strategic for a "precocious young person" type to take to get on the show. Spencer might've heard these stories, or just independently came up with the strategy on his own.

Or maybe he's just tired and mellow now that he's starving.

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36. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
Good example, jims.
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39. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"

Perhaps I've given tests (as opposed to interviews) far more credit than they deserve. And 'tired and mellow' far too little ...

But I really loved your example. Guatemala is one of my favorite Seasons in no small part because of the Brian, Jamie and Brandon *trio - who were essentially the same "precocious young person" type in three fascinating-to-watch flavors.

Note: I would never call BJ and Blake "precocious". Or "young".

Thanks for the memory. It's great to see you here.

*Reappearing in China as Todd, Erik and Frosti

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34. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
I don't think that Jeff bothers to read everything about the contestants. If so, why didn't he know that Fairplay had spoken about the Grandma lie during his interviews?
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37. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
Who knows what Jeff does from season to season and how his perceptions are formed. He may not have read or watched every bit of information the contestants have filmed or written down. I think his goal is to have an interesting cast mix. He's evolved as the seasons take place as well.

Who knows, maybe he'll write a "How I did it" tell all book after he retires his pocket shirts.

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38. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
LAST EDITED ON 04-01-14 AT 08:51 PM (EST)

You are very probably right, Michel. You know far more about Survivor than I do. For instance:

For me, until now the only evidence of the state of Jeff Probst's knowledge before the fact of the 'Grandma' incident was his - apparent - filmed surprise. I had no idea that anyone on the show's staff knew of it earlier.

So - although I will point out that his involvement in the show's management/production was not as extensive then as it is now - and while it would surprise me if, in his current position, he does not read all of the in-house material available to him regarding new players - I certainly don't have any sound reason to dispute your reasoning.

A note:

My father and his next-door neighbor worked for the same company for over forty years. And during one of their post-retirement discussions regarding their experiences there, his neighbor said "You know, I don't think that there is any way that you can lose money making chemicals."

And I came to the conclusion some time ago that there just is no way that you can lose money making Survivor ...

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35. "RE: Episode 6 - We Found Our Villains"
Thank you Suzzee for sharing your thoughts.
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41. "Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
Previously on Survivor two cops, Tony and Sarah, made a pact to stay together, but a surprise switch pulled them apart.

While Sarah’s new tribe had a clear division, Tony’s new tribe was filled with everything Survivor has to offer: Two idols, a blindside and they even saw one of their tribe members quit. Despite everything, they won the last immunity challenge.
Tony is heard once more saying: “Top Five, Baby!”

At Tribal Council, the new Aparri tribe was focused on a possible merge

Morgan told Jeff: “The possibility, if we merge, is that Alexis and Jeremiah both could flip to the other side.”
In the end, everybody thought Alexis was most likely to flip.

Looking at the way this episode turned out, it could be that we have to take Tony’s call of “Top Five” at face value. The new Solana could be the last five standing ... unless we get a wild finish. This recap makes it clear that the Cops R Us alliance was the main story of the pre-merge so what will replace it during the second act?

Aparri – Night 16:

Spencer had the 1st confessional: “I feel great after Tribal. Tribal bettered my game. Now, everyone is buying into the 6. If we merge tomorrow, that is the best news possible for this tribe because right now, we control the game. We have six and they have five.”

Right then, we saw clouds were moving in, hiding the moon and signaling that trouble was ahead for this group. That trouble could have come from the arrogance Spencer showed in this confessional but it took on a sneakier form.

Kass gave us a confessional: “This group is allegedly a solid six. If we can all stay strong as a core, we can run the show and take out a less obvious target like Trish or Jefra. It sounds so simple, but the best laid plans often end up sprawled on a murder scene floor.”

Eventually, the tribe did vote for the less obvious target but Kass wound up killing her own plan.

Aparri – Day 17

Kass and Sarah took a walk along the beach to collect firewood and Kass was very direct: “The only persons I am concerned with are you and Jeremiah.”

Once more, Kass opened her mouth and put her foot in it. That need for honesty is incompatible with the game of Survivor. Kass was asking for trouble when it would have been so simple to say that she and Sarah needed to watch each other’s back. Sarah’s reaction would have told Kass what she wanted to know.

Sarah told us what she thought of that remark in her first confessional: “It might get ugly around here. For her to accuse me of not staying true to my word hit a chord with me. People don’t like to be called a liar and, pretty much, I got called a liar without being called a liar. What more do I have to do to prove to you that I am loyal? That’s where we are going to have a crack. It’s when you guys stop having faith in me and I feel it. When I know that you guys think that I am tethering, that’s going to push me away.”

Sarah and Kass shook hands but Kass gave us her real thoughts: “In my business, we go with the hard evidence and just because you voted with us for one vote doesn’t mean that I believe you are true. You did what you had to do in my opinion. That doesn’t speak of loyalty. That speaks of desperation and a wise move. You haven’t proven anything to me except you are saving yourself. Show me blood on your hands from a former tribe mate and then we’ll talk.”

This is still somewhat reasonable, but that’s because Kass still felt in control. A strategic player would have realized that Sarah had no reasons to trust Kass either. Only Morgan and Jeremiah had the blood of a former tribe mate on their hand. A smart player knows that the only way to get someone’s loyalty is to have common needs, a common goal. That should have been eliminating a member of New Solana, any member of New Solana. So finding a common goal should have been easy, but Kass was more interested in making sure that Sarah wouldn’t get her way.

Solana – Day 17

The mood was cheery, a welcomed contrast after the impending doom of Aparri.

Tony in confessional: “When I first started out in this game, I wasn’t having any fun with my tribe members. Now I am out here with the new Solana tribe and I am having fun with everybody. Day 17 and I am having the time of my life, but it’s kind of boring to be honest with you because there is no scrambling going on, there is no trickery going on, there’s no spying. That’s fun for me, you know.”

We now have a new Tony, a much more likeable Tony so that could bode well for him and his new group. On the other hand, it could be the start of a redemption arc before his elimination.

When Tony read tree mail which told them they were about to merge, Trish was heard saying: “It was too good to be true.”

The ending to this season depends on whether or not this episode was too good to be true for the New Solana tribe. When Airai left their beach to join Malakal, Natalie was heard saying: “Off to the races, miladies” and that certainly signaled the start of the women’s dominance in that season. Is Trish’s lament also a sign of things to come despite a momentary victory?

LJ gave us a confessional: “Now that we have a merge, it’s an exciting thing and it’s a nerve wracking thing at the same time because it’s six against five and we could be in trouble. Thank God! I still have that hidden immunity idol in my pocket.”

We saw both LJ and Tony retrieving their idols.

Tony had an interview: “The way I feel about this idol it’s like I have an extra person in my alliance. We have five plus the idol. If any of my Solana five needs it, I’ll help them out. So, I think we are in pretty good shape.”

Aparri – Day 17

Morgan read the message that told them to expect visitors who could stay for the next 22 days.

Spencer gave us his thoughts: “We are joining tribes. I think it’s a merge, I hope it’s a merge but bottom line, the other tribe is coming over and we are all going to be living on the same beach.” Confidently, he told the tribe that the newcomers wouldn’t be staying 22 days; one would be staying three days, 6 days for the next... His confessional continued: “When the five get here, it’s us against them and I am not going to let anyone forget that.”

Now that we know Spencer was wrong, that it was someone from his side that left after the first three days, can we also say that his group will get eliminated one by one like he mentioned during the previous Council? That wouldn’t exactly be a wild finish though. One thing that the confessional shows is that Spencer was ready for a fake merge. He knows this game so he should know how to use an idol with special powers if he finds it.

Sarah had the first confessional after Solana’s arrival. She told us that she felt the same kind of nervousness one feels at a school reunion, seeing people after many years.
Jefra noticed that Alexis was missing. She had an interview: “I didn’t expect to see my girl Alexis gone. That was a shoe-in for me. We were like this (fingers crossed) and I could easily persuade her to be on our side. Now, I’m thinking: “Oh snap! What do we do now?”

This confessional tells us that Aparri made the right decision last week when they eliminated Alexis, but why was it shown? Was it to tell us that the new Aparri was doomed either way? No, I think it tells us that they are smart players; that we shouldn’t give up on them just yet.

Morgan read the message confirming the merge and telling them about an idol with different powers.

As expected, Tony was the one to have the confessional about the idol: “There’s a hidden immunity idol with special powers? I mean, it’s powerful enough on its own but now it has special powers ... The person that finds that idol will be the only person that’s going to know what the special powers are. Of course, I am going to look for it. I’ll spend three, four days looking for it.”

Spencer wondered out loud about the special powers. Someone suggested it could send you home. Hearing that, Tony said he didn’t want that idol.

This scene suggests that either Tony or Spencer will find the idol. Although, the inclusion of Tony’s remark could mean that he won’t be getting it. In fact, seeing Tony’s face when someone said the special powers could send you home, I think Tony will get the bounce from the idol that Spencer will play.
As an aside, it would be funny if Spencer finds the idol on the 5th day after the merge since Tony said he’d spend four searching for it.

Spencer in confessional: “It’s like Christmas freakin’ morning. Part of the excitement of being at the merge is just the shock that I made it. You know, I was at the bottom of a tribe that was one of the worse tribes in Survivor history and somehow I am here at the merge and I have new life. I’m in the driver’s seat. I am tight with Sarah, I am tight with Jeremiah. I am tight with this group of six that could potentially run the game of Survivor after the merge.”

We are reminded of Spencer’s story, of his time when he had no allies and his return to power. It could be simply to tell us that he blew his chance or that he is about to pull it once more.

Asked about the vote against Alexis, Jeremiah told the group that she turned on him so he voted her out. That impressed Tony.

Tony (solo): “We could be in some trouble. Six against five is pretty tough. The only hope that I have, personally was Sarah. Sarah was an old Aparri and she swore on her badge that she wants to be with me, but my biggest fear is that, if Sarah doesn’t flip, we’re done, I’m done. I don’t want to be done.”
Sarah didn’t flip so maybe Tony is done despite the outcome of this vote.

Solarrion – Day 18

It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those awful mashed up names for the merged tribe. Maybe that’s why I didn’t find this one completely idiotic.

Trish was giving yoga instructions to Tasha, Kass and Morgan.
After asking LJ who he thought was the head of the snake, Tony gave us a confessional: “As it stands right now ... We need one person to come on our side and we will flip the script. We will make it six my side and five their side. So, I am hoping that Sarah is the missing link to this.”

In the middle of this confessional, the editors inserted the scene where we heard Tony asking Sarah where she stood. She said she was a floater. Tony promised her top 4 with Woo and Trish while LJ and Jefra gave them the numbers.

Tony’s confessional continued: “My goal is to make Sarah believe that I want to sit at the top two with her just like we mentioned: Two cops sitting in front of the jury. So, I am going to promise her, I am going to guarantee her, I am going to do whatever it takes to reassure her that I am not lying to her, that I really want her on our side to move forward in the game as opposed to the other tribe.”

Sarah told Tony that she couldn’t swear on her badge about voting for either Spencer or Kass.

Sarah in confessional: “I am in the best spot that you could be at in this game because 5 and 5 and guess what? I am in the middle. It’s a Sarah-sandwich, it’s perfect. I never expected to be the decision-maker. It truly is a predicament but whichever side I go, I will be sitting pretty because I will decide the fate of this game.”

Unfortunately for her, it turned out to be a toasted Sarah-sandwich. I guess Sarah never saw Dolly in Vanuatu! She should have realized that a decision-maker has to make a decision. It shouldn’t be hard to understand. Telling Tony that she was a floater was probably the worst thing she could say. Kass was dumb to flip the game but we can’t say that her victim was much brighter. Sarah should have told Tony right there and then what he wanted to hear instead of waffling.
However, her words could still be prophetic: As a juror, she may cast the vote that will decide the fate of this game.

Sarah talked with Jeremiah and Kass, suggesting they target LJ because he wouldn’t have an idol. Kass and Jeremiah both thought LJ had an idol.

Jeremiah gave an interview: “I don’t have no hidden immunity idol, I think LJ’s got it. That’s what worries me and that’s what has me nervous about this game.”

Jeremiah told the two women that Jefra needed to go first because no one would play an idol for her. Trish insisted that it had to be LJ or Woo; that they had to get a strong guy out. When they pointed out once more that LJ had an idol, Sarah said it had to be Woo and she wouldn’t hear about voting against Trish because she wasn’t a threat.

Sarah (solo): “I think it’s completely idiotic to pick a fight with me. I’m not saying let me be the princess and walk around on egg shells, but the last thing you want to do is ##### me off.” She told them they could vote for Tony if Woo won immunity then her confessional continued: “You can do whatever you want but if you pick a fight with me, I’ll flip over with those other guys so don’t test me because I will put you in your place and send you packing.”

Kass had a confessional: “Dude, I’ve said it a million times: I don’t trust the cop. When someone in an alleged alliance of six says “I am only voting for these people and I will absolutely not vote for this person, it lets me know that she is not in the six. She’s in the one. If you come to me and say that you are going with your former tribe mates and they are going to let you choose who goes out and she comes to us and telling us who she wants out. It might be Woo but no one in this game should have that much power. Who made her queen? I can’t even look at her. I just want to punch her sometimes.”

Now that Sarah is taking over power, Kass cannot stand it and wants to keep it in her hands. Her immaturity is slowly starting to show with that threat of violence.

Through it all, Jeremiah tried to keep the peace, saying they would talk some more the next day.

Day – 19

We briefly saw Tony and LJ during their failed fishing expedition and then we got back in camp where Kass was taking stabs at Sarah.
Trish heard the two women bickering and gave us a confessional: “I wake up this morning and Reeeeaaar! Is what I heard. I heard a couple of girls going at it. It was between Kass and Sarah I believe. The fight made me happy because it made me realize that they weren’t as strong a six as I thought they were and they are cracking before we even get to the challenge. Obviously, they are all feeling a bit paranoid.”

Tasha also witnessed the fight so she took Sarah and Kass to the side to clear the air. Wisely, Tasha said she didn’t want to see them fracture over some BS. She also told Sarah that she was in a tough position and added that they didn’t need to like each other to vote together.

Tasha in confessional: “When I heard Kass and Sarah’s exchange, I didn’t care who was right, who was wrong. My main concern was getting those two back on the same page.”

Kass had an interview: “I totally think that Tasha took Sarah’s side in the argument. What the heck? Someone in the alliance treats someone poorly so everyone panders to the bully? I felt like saying it to Tasha: What about me? Why aren’t you being nice to me? What am I? Chopped liver? Oh wait! You’re done with me. I got it.” The confessional cut to show the impatience on Kass’ face and her eye rolls which led to Sarah saying she didn’t like being attacked. Kass went on: “I know Sarah is against me, I know Tasha is against me. I know where I stand, but at this point the six are falling apart.”

Now Kass is reacting like a child who saw her “mom” Tasha pick the side of the new kid instead of hers. A mature woman and an attorney wouldn’t react like this normally so we can see that the game is getting to Kass.

The scene ended with Tasha telling Sarah that her decision will decide her fate, not only the fate of other five people’s fate.

The Challenge:

Was it fair to let Woo compete in toe shoes when everyone else had bare feet? Since part of the challenge was to resist the pain, it certainly gave him an advantage.

Anyway, Spencer, Kass, LJ, Sarah, Jefra, Tasha, Trish and Jeremiah all fell in quick succession at the start of the 3rd round, leaving only Morgan to fight it out against Woo and Tony. Then the wind picked up and it was down to the 2 Solana men. Just before going in, Tony yelled out: “Good luck Woo.”

Maybe Tony will say the same thing when he gets eliminated!

The final scene started with Bats flying crazily around, preparing us for some craziness during the vote.

Sarah had the first confessional reminding us that she was in the middle but couldn’t make the choice. She said that there were stronger players on Tony’s side, that she preferred to go with the weaker side which was portrayed by Spencer saying he was first off the pedestal. She ended her confessional by saying she was the President right now.

Spencer pointed out to the group that Jefra would never receive an idol so that she was the smart choice. Sarah was still convinced that Solana didn’t have idols and that they could get rid of Jefra at any time. She was voting either for LJ or Tony.
Trish and Tony noticed the 6 talking in the ocean and agreed that Sarah was not only with the other side; she was the person in charge. Tony still thought he could flip Sarah but Woo told him she wasn’t going anywhere. Trish said she would approach Kass, that she had a good relationship with her. Tony said he’d talk to Sarah first because Kass would play Trish.

After the group agreed to vote against Tony, Kass gave us a confessional: “The original agreement was to play it cool, we’d probably take out Jefra or Trish to get the numbers and then let’s meddle with the big boys who might have idols and strategy, but Sarah said it’s got to be Tony. She thinks she is running the show. Does nobody see this? Am I the only one? I know she is about to destroy the game. If she is about to destroy the game, I want to have the pre-emptive strike. I want to destroy it.”

This idea was as brilliant as the cold-war’s mutual assured destruction. Everybody saw that Sarah was running the show ... temporarily. That’s why nobody cared. Get Tony out and then the New Aparri would have been in complete control. Also, Sarah was ready to vote out a former tribe mate so why wasn’t it good enough for Kass?

Tony worked on Sarah, telling her that she’d be on top of Jefra, LJ and Woo which left her in the top three with Trish and him. He also added smartly that if she eliminated him or LJ, it left her group at 6 against 4 so they wouldn’t need her anymore.
Why didn’t someone on the Brains side think of saying that to Kass; that they could always get Sarah after the first vote? Simple: Everyone thought it would be evident to Kass, but she was too intent on making the big move first.

Sarah had a confessional where she said she knew what Tony was saying, that she wasn’t an idiot. She wanted to get rid of Tony because he was a big threat just like her. She added: “I would get rid of me if I could.”

Well my dear, by telling Tony that you needed time to decide, that is exactly what you did: You got rid of yourself.
Tony in confessional: “With Sarah telling me: “Let me think about it, let me make my decision at Tribal Council”, are you kidding me? I couldn’t believe she said that. I looked at her and I thought they were right. I talked to Sarah and I got a good, strong feeling that she is not coming to our side so one thing’s for sure. If I feel a little iffy-iffy, that idol is being played. I am not going home with the idol.”

Just then we saw Spencer whacking a coconut with a machete, suggesting that Tony could be going home after being blindsided.

It was Trish’s turn to work magic on Kass who said she’d like to get rid of Sarah, but she didn’t think there would be time to pull things together. Trish agreed on the vote and said they had time to make it happen.

Kass (solo): “Trish told me that they were voting Sarah. Surprising to me but maybe they are smarter than I think. They are probably smarter than my other 5 if they are thinking that Sarah is the bad seed. So maybe I will change allegiance.”

A determined Trish walked over to LJ and Tony telling them that Sarah was on her way out. They all agreed that Sarah was their vote. Having made the arrangements, Trish went back to Kass to let her know that they would take care of her.

Kass (solo): “I love that Sarah thinks she is running the show. New Aparri is voting for Tony, at the request of Queen Sarah. Solana is voting for Sarah. I truly believe that I am the one in the middle. I think I have usurped Sarah’s throne tonight and once again, Kaos Kass will show up at Tribal.”

She certainly got her way, but now what? To borrow from Spencer: This Council didn’t better Kass’ position at all.

Tribal Council

Asked about the mood of the tribe, LJ said he felt on the hot seat. He considered it flattering to be a target but that it was the best worse compliment he could get.
Jeff took that as a farewell speech and Tasha concurred, saying
that it was the time to get rid of big threats so LJ should be worried.
Tony said that there were smart people who figured you don’t move forward with an alliance of numbers (that surprised Spencer) but with an alliance of comfort, “people who you are happy to be around.” Tony added: “I can be a threat. I’m forty, I’m bald, I’m old but I still got a little fire in me.”
Kass said she would be worried if she was a strong male doing well in challenges on the minority group.
Asked about idols, LJ said it could all be a joke, that there could be no idols.
Tony jumped in: “There are idols because I got one and I am going to use it for my group.”
Spencer wanted to see it to believe it.
Tony obliged and wore it proudly around his neck saying: “This doesn’t mean I am going to use it for me, Jeff.”
Sarah’s heart sank while Jefra thanked God once again.
Tony was amused by the face of the six people but Spencer was quick to turn to Tasha and say: “The other one.” They all agreed while Tony’s group decided to keep it the same.
Jeff was enjoying himself. He can recognize a highlight when he sees one so he sent them to vote.
When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, Tony stood and asked the host to validate his idol. Jeff confirmed that it was a real idol so Tony gave it to LJ, saying he wanted to know if he was reading these people correctly.
LJ interrupted Jeff and pulled his own idol. He had time to realize that the six weren’t showing signs of distress so he wanted to “cover Tony’s #####.”
(To future players: Always look for your opponents’ reactions before you play an idol)
As soon as Jeff showed the 1st vote against Jefra, Tony’s group realized that they had been outsmarted and we saw Spencer turning towards them, showing that he was one step ahead.
The vote went all the way to a 5-5 tie, Jefra growing more and more worried with each vote against her. When Jeff showed that the 11th vote was against Sarah, Jefra and her group exploded with joy. Jefra said that she was shaking.
Sarah, Spencer and Tasha were shown in disbelief. Sarah asked who flipped to which Spencer quickly answered: “Kass”.
Jefra and Tony thanked Kass, Tony adding that they lost two immunity idols but that they would get them back.
Spencer said: “Kass: Zero chance of winning the game.”
Kass simply answered: “It’s a long way to go.”
Jeff predicted that this will be a wild finish.

The Story

When we get such an unexpected event, we have to take time to reassess the whole story, see if the hints we have gathered point us in a new directions or if there are hints that we missed. One thing we had read correctly was that Tony and Sarah’s alliance wouldn’t last all the way to the end, but we didn’t think it would be ending so abruptly and in Tony’s favor. With the vote flipping the game around, we could still be on the right track, looking for players that suddenly became targets and kept their focus on the game. It’s just that we forgot one.

Will the ending be as wild as Jeff predicted? It’s his job to sell the show but it sounded like a promise. It was as if the editors let that quote make it on the air because we wouldn’t be disappointed. Comments like Trish’s “too good to be true”, Tony’s “we’re done if Sarah doesn’t flip” or “I don’t want that idol” could be hints that we will get more surprises, that New Solana doesn’t have it in the bag. How could they lose though? Aparri burned any chances they had to get Jefra by voting against her. LJ must feel a great brotherhood with Tony after their idol exchange so that doesn’t leave them many options. It seems only the idol can cause more surprises.

The Characters:
The Killer

Kass: Another thing we read correctly was Kass being a pendulum, a weather vane. Even if some objected, she was the unpredictable one, the one that Luzon should have eliminated early on. However, who could have prepared for such an absurd move? Compare her to Cochran: He was on the outside of his alliance and the tribes were tied at the merge. Even in that position, everyone agreed that he killed his game by flipping to Coach. Not only was Kass in the majority alliance, she was in the core three of that alliance.
As the episode went along, we heard confessionals that revealed her lack of maturity and her total ignorance of strategy. She simply was upset that Sarah was momentarily in power and that “Mom” Tasha was taking the side of the new girl instead of hers. She wanted to “destroy the game” before Sarah had a chance to destroy it. After Tony made his big move at TC, Sarah agreed to vote for someone less obvious just like Kass wanted but even that wasn’t enough.
Can Kass win? While her answer to Spencer may encourage her fans, I don’t see how she can get jury votes. She will need all her skills as an attorney to plead her own case and what do they say about attorneys representing themselves? This fool has become the perfect goat to take to the F3. The only other possibility is that, like Jonathan in Cook Islands; she’ll be sacrificed by someone in her new alliance to garner favors from the ones that hate her.

The Innocent Bystanders - They had very limited role in this key episode:

Morgan: It seems her story will end as a victim of Kass. She had a nice role as long as she was alone and in danger but her story stalled as soon as she got inside the alliance.

Jeremiah: He did play a role as peacekeeper before the merge and we saw that he made sense but it wasn’t enough.

Jefra: She almost became collateral damage after Tony’s big play. The vote made her go through all the range of emotions from pure joy from seeing the idols, agony from seeing her name on the parchments and utter relief once the final vote was turned. So, like Colleen after Greg was voted out, maybe she lost a bit of her innocence and can start playing the game but what can she do except follow Trish and Tony’s lead? She isn’t in the core of that alliance so a flip could help her game but the only people she could join just voted against her.

Woo: He was mostly ignored in this episode but winning the immunity challenge gave him some visibility. The previews gave us a hint that his ninja mode will help him in his search for the idol but wouldn’t it be totally wasted on Woo? If he finds the idol, turn out the lights, Tony’s top five are making it all the way to the end.

Friends of the Victim – They have been put back in the underdog position.

Tasha: Looking back at Kass’ quote about Tasha being like a pendulum, we now realize all its irony because Tasha showed her solid resolve and her wisdom in this episode. She knew that Sarah and Kass needed a time out in order to come to an understanding. She thought that she had fixed the conflict so she must be feeling totally betrayed by Kass. Some will say that Tasha should have had a better read Kass and should have talked to her more, but she had to think Kass would let her know if she felt so strongly about Sarah. Can Tasha recover and win the game? None of the hints we’ve seen that the game could still change point to her though. It was as if that scene where Tasha sat next to Sarah told us that both were on death row, that Kass was condemning both at the same time.

Spencer: Compared to Tasha, he had a stellar merge episode. His opening confessional can certainly be seen as an example of arrogance but it also showed the importance of his fall. The talk about the idol centered on him, we saw him whacking a coconut right after Tony’s confessional and the fact that we heard him say that he was the first off the pedestal could be telling us that he won’t be seen as an immediate threat. He may have time to find that idol and figure out how to use it to his advantage.

The Accomplices – These players profited from the big move. They are now in a great position.

LJ: It was a very ordinary episode for LJ. Even his big move with the idol paled in comparison to Tony’s. It was barely more exciting than buying life insurance which this is what it actually turned out to be. LJ continues to be a marginal character even if he has all the substance to be the leading man. There has to be a reason for it and the only one that makes sense is that LJ won’t be there at the end.

Tony: The new, joyful Tony could be our winner despite his villainous streak. The complex story he had with Sarah was resolved entirely in his favor: She was portrayed as being a dumb player when she called herself a floater and she was first to say she wanted to vote him out. Tony was still offering her a spot in the final 3 but she had already told Aparri that he had to go.
However, instead of stealing some of Trish’s thunder during the recap of Cliff’s elimination maybe he was being served most of the blame. There would still be an uneasy feeling about a winner who claimed that swearing on his police badge meant nothing. That quote has to lead to a realization, a lesson in life that only elimination can bring, can portray.

Trish: When I watched the first episode, I developed the impression that Trish would regret choosing the rice, that it would come back to kick her in the butt like she feared. Tony had told us that it wasn’t the right thing to do, that he would have gone after the idol. However, now it is time to look back at Trish’s story: Like Spencer and others, she was at the bottom of the pecking order and while we saw her as an emotional player, we also saw that she was able to turn the situation around and to get people to warm up to her. If anyone thinks that Trish isn’t well liked, I will point you back to her yoga session. Ace, Coach and Laura also got to show some moves to their fellow tribe mates but they were all mocked for it. For Trish, it was simply a quick scene which, besides showing Morgan’s boobies, served to show that she got along with some members of her tribe, some potential jurors. We also heard her say that she had a good relation with Kass so, unlike viewers’ impression, Trish has an adequate social game. Enough to get the jury vote? Maybe...
While Trish had a very weak premiere, she was the star of the merge episode, the one that correctly analysed the situation, saw the crack between Kass and Sarah and knew she had the rapport with Kass that would enable her to get her on board. That’s the second big move that she can put on her score card after Cliff’s elimination. If nothing wild happens, if Spencer doesn’t find an idol or a way to flip the game back in his favor then Trish could be our winner.

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42. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
Great insight michel2!

By the way, did you ever try the method I sent you via private message to get your original michel account restored?

HEY, I JUST realized that you are one of Rob Cesternino's Bloggers!!! That's awesome!

Michel Trudeau

The Murder Scene

by Michel Trudeau on April 5, 2014
The Murder Scene

April 5, 2014 - When we get such an unexpected event, we have to take time to reassess the whole story, see if the hints we have gathered point us in a new directions or if there are hints that we missed.

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44. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
Thank you Sheldor.
I haven't tried to retrieve my old account. Maybe I'll get to it at some point.

Yes, I've been having a lot of fun over at RHAP. Rob's a great host and the place has the feel this one used to have in the good ole days.

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46. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
LAST EDITED ON 04-06-14 AT 02:44 PM (EST)

Good analysis, michel, as usual. I have so many notes on your stuff that I'm not sure how to arrange them.

I agree completely with your comments on Morgan, Jeremiah, Jefra, and Woo. None of these 4 have simply gotten enough screen time or a storyline to say that any of them will win. If Morgan wins, then they would've focused more on her reversal against Alexis. Same with Woo and the Cliff vote. Jefra almost went home this last week and only got, like, one confessional at the beginning, about Alexis. Jeremiah has had almost nothing to do the entire time.

Here's the "contenders" and how I'd rank 'em for now.

6. Kass

Kass is exactly the kind of person Survivor editors love to ignore, yet we still keep seeing her story. That alone keeps her out of the above category. But as michel pointed out, winning a jury vote would be extremely difficult for her now. She would basically have to bank on a very, very chaotic post-merge situation (think Pearl Islands or the Amazon) to pull off a victory. She also need a bigger goat to end up next to.

I could see a scenario where somehow where others start backstabbing and makes Kass' initial jump not seem as extreme. And if she's sitting by Jefra or whoever, she might win. It's a pretty slim chance, but by editing alone, it's not impossible to rule her out. Jonny Fairplay would've beaten Lil in Pearl Islands, after all. And Kass is certainly getting a more positive edit than Mr. Fairplay.

5. Trish

I was writing her off earlier, but her great recent episode is re-thinking whether we're going to get a very interesting winner this year. The reason I still rank her #5 is because I ask myself this. Is Trish a Coach or is she a Kim Spradlin?

The editors portrayed the Cochran flip in South Pacific as Coach bringing him over. There were other things (like the Coach/Sophie/Albert/Cochran F4 deal) but that's how it was edited on the show. But, despite this, Coach's personality and way he handled people made it so that people wouldn't vote for him in the end. That dynamic is basically what the South Pacific endgame hinged on. So is Trish like Coach? Is she a good but flawed player?

I'm leaning toward her being a Coach type. Even if people who dislike her are gone now, I don't think people will take her seriously enough to give her the win. Trish can be too self-deprecating sometimes. I think the way the LJ situation was shown says a lot too... Bringing in LJ wasn't really shown as a strategic play on Trish's fault. It was shown as "LJ sure is drawing in that cougar Trish." I would love to be wrong, though, because Trish would be a really cool winner.

(there's a big gap here)

4. Tasha

I think what's in Tasha's favor is that she generally has public opinion behind her. They portray her as thinking the feud is stupid and trying desperately to keep Kass/Sarah together. If someone from this group wins the game, they need to show the winner trying to keep the alliance together. Just to say that they had the "right" idea. This is a key negative mark against Spencer, who had nothing to do with the Kass/Sarah argument. Maybe they're shielding Spencer. But they should at least show him giving it the old college try. Kass' denouncement of Tasha didn't make Tasha look bad; it just made Kass look like a six year old child.

I'm kind of rooting for a Tasha win in a way just because I think it would be pretty slick from an editing point of view. Tasha's been hiding in plain sight, while we are all too busy gushing over the likes of Tony and Spencer.

3. Tony

Tony's edit is confusing. Because it has definitely lightened quite a bit, which is great for a player like him. His edit had too many shades of Russell before.

But his actual moves seem to be hidden. I have no doubt in my mind that he talked to Kass and closed the deal after Trish (maybe promising Final 3) but they didn't show it. They just had him be hung up on Sarah the whole time. The story was, "Tony wrong, Trish right." A similar situation happened with the Cliff vote. That story was, "Trish convinced Tony." Are we just not seeing Tony close the deals because it ruins the Tribal Council suspense? Maybe Tony wins and they're not trying to beat us over the head with it (a la Boston Rob)?

I still put him #3 because I believe, in my heart of hearts, that the other players just won't allow him to win in the end. Incidents like "TOP FIVE!!!" suggest to me that someone's eventually going to get fed up with his front-running and knock him out. Tony plays too transparent a game for them not to.

2. Spencer

He's in a pretty bad spot. And some of his confessionals in the last episode made me think he might be the cocky person going home.

But the editing is still there. You've got a twice-underdog story going on. And then there's the, "Why isn't he portrayed more arrogantly?" question that keeps getting asked. Maybe Spencer is just playing nice. But teams that get Pagonged don't usually get such a nuanced edit. Spencer is the kind of person that the editors love to beat up on.

And usually we should be always rooting for the team that does that Pagonging. This situation is much more muddled and arguable. I'm not saying even the majority of viewers are on Spencer/Tasha's side, but public opinion usually isn't this close. The only other recent example I can think of is the Three Amigos alliance, but they were treated with kid gloves for... other reasons. Maybe the editors heard people's complaints after Boston Rob and are getting more nuanced. After all, even Tyson last year had his rough moments highlighted. Maybe Spencer is just this season's red herring?

1. LJ

I'm putting LJ at #1 just because everyone else is kind of confusing and he has a lot of options right now. I was more down on him earlier, but michel had been right about the earlier episodes. LJ has always, always been present in the episodes to lend his thoughts on the situations. It was LJ who mocked Tony's strategy a couple episodes ago, with his sarcastic "Well, that's a interesting idea" confessional. He was the only person to offer any sort of criticism.

What gives me pause is that LJ was really invisible during this past week, with his idol play being an after-thought. But that's just how things went down... You can't edit that differently. They could have had LJ talk about his idol beforehand, though, which is why I'm not sold on LJ yet.

The next couple of weeks are really going to be interesting. If LJ and Jefra suddenly become the swing vote powerbrokers, LJ could be our winner. If the story just revolves around the Tony/Trish/Kass/Spencer/Tasha tug-of-war, then I'm writing LJ off. This a #1 because of potential sort of ranking.

I feel like 2 weeks from now, it's going to more obvious who's going to win.

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04-06-14, 08:27 PM (EST)
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47. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
LAST EDITED ON 04-06-14 AT 08:36 PM (EST)

Interesting comments, Jims. Maybe you are right in saying they don't want an obvious winner and that's why they aren't highlighting LJ but that would be so "unnatural" for them.

Edited because I was mixing up amigos with horsemen.

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48. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
LAST EDITED ON 04-06-14 AT 08:37 PM (EST)

Interesting comments, Jims. Maybe you are right in saying they don't want an obvious winner and that's why they aren't highlighting LJ but that would be so "unnatural" for them.

I was more down on LJ later but thinking about this thread has made me think that he has been kind of present throughout the season. Not the star, but they keep him in the picture. I think it's difficult for someone like LJ to be the "star" (despite his good looks) because his personality is so low-key.

I think I put him #1 because the situation around Tony and Spencer and Tasha are kind of cloudy right now. I might look stupid next week when they downplay him again and/or vote him out.

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52. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
I was more down on LJ later but thinking about this thread has made me think that he has been kind of present throughout the season. Not the star, but they keep him in the picture. I think it's difficult for someone like LJ to be the "star" (despite his good looks) because his personality is so low-key.

Although I suspect that his personality is not so low-key as his performance and portrayal to date suggest, I am consistently reminded of Danni's 'always there, in the background' editorial treatment.

But, it would seem, LJ (the cheerleader) does not do cartwheels ...

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57. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
It could be but, by this time, we had heard Gary telling Judd and Steph that Danni deserved to make it to the F4, we had also heard him tell Rafe that Danni was trustworthy and we had heard Steph say that Danni was awesome. That's all much more than what we have heard the others say about LJ.

Add the fact that Danni's social game had been well established during the birthday party that production allowed(How did she do that? I do not know. It's even rare that we hear about birthdays unless the player is in danger of being booted)
And if that isn't enough, Jeff often commented on Danni in challenges.

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59. "RE: Survivor Cagayan E7 - The Murder Scene"
You know, I went digging through the archives for Guatemala's Editing Threads (I think that there were three) after I posted this. And the little bit I've had time to read of the beginning entry (at the moment I can't locate the link for the second one and I haven't yet found the third) surprised me.

Because I remembered that Veruca Salt had identified Danni as the Season's winner early on, but her edit was evidently much less stealthy than I imagined. It seems that the rest of the world knew she was the winner long before I was ready to admit it ...

As for Spencer/LJ:

I don't want Spencer to win. I dislike virtually everything about him. But I can't be certain that if we ever come to know more about LJ that I would want him to win, either. However, they are both from the same, unsurprising pew. So I can live with either.

I do know that I would love to see Kass or Tony take home the prize. 'Cause I could live just as happily with the surprising. But that, I'm afraid, isn't any more likely to happen in Cagayan than it was likely to happen in Guatemala.

PS: Thank you, Michel, for keeping this invaluable thread ... thriving. You've been its life's blood for several years now and that is appreciated.

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43. "Interjection..."
Hi michel! I wrote this excerpt after the nuSolana tribe won the IC where Tony exclaimed, top 5!

I posted in Veruca's thread but no one came to play, so I am retrieving it and putting it in here for thoughts....

Hi michel, I wanted to respond to your thoughts of LJ as an antagonist. I don't see him that way at all, in fact, I think he has "legs", as Veruca used to say. LJ was indeed downplayed in episode one, just as Tyson was.

But, he continues to make smart moves and he keeps it all to himself. He found the idol without any clues and swore to keep it to himself....really smart. He luckily escaped the first TC after the tribes were dissolved to 2. Clearly, Trish and Tony made him feel comfortable enough. We saw him bond to Trish, but not to Tony....possibly alliances revealed don't make it to fruition but those that are for thought?

Then the big thing I took away from the last episode was when Tony came clean about his lie, he's not in construction but he's a police officer. As wise ol' LJ noted that "Tony tried to get in with us by confessing his lies...different". At least it was something like that, then LJ noted that Tony was really smart and that he'd have to keep an eye on him.

It clearly made me feel like LJ will at least one up Tony. IMO, LJ is making the best moves of the game so far. We have seen him triumph at challenges again and again, last week he beat Sarah at the puzzle. So, clearly he's a challenge threat to win the game. We saw him escape the first eviction from his tribe, narrowly when Jeremiah decided to vote out Brice. We saw him narrowly escape eviction again when he didn't play his idol when nuSolana went to TC. We saw him find an HII left to his own devices and then choose the smart option of NOT sharing the information.

So far, I think LJ has the best edit of all, and if I had to pick a winner at this point, it would be him. I haven't ever really seen him as an antagonist, nor a narrator.

Food for thought.

Continuing on with this vein, LJ was elected leader of his tribe at the start, but he didn't "take over" in a dominant way, he laid low. He was always in the majority alliance in his original tribe because Jeremiah stayed with him. Then when he and Jefra were swapped to nuSolana, while he verbalized that he and Jefra were alone and vulnerable, we NEVER saw him in a vulnerable spot because the old Aparri's were divided and had drama. We know that he capitalized on his in with Trish as they are fellow Massachusett natives....the editing is showing us how LJ smoothly integrates into the game, into the tribe, into a new tribe, and now into the merge which is clearly different then the way Tony has integrated.

I think his game is being contrasted with Tony's. Tony is the other resourceful player right out of the gate. Tony was extremely aggressive, while LJ not so much. Tony found the idol and kept it to himself, same as LJ. Tony started out the game lying to not only the entire group, but to his closest allies as well. LJ did not, he laid low. 2 different smart players, playing the game similiarly, but by different approaches. Then, when Tony confesses we hear that confessional from LJ, he has his number. Keep your friends close, and your toughest competition closer? I just feel that these 2 characters are reaching the same places from different angles, one will outlast the other, and my money is on LJ.

It's really interesting that they have the same supporting players...namely, Trish and Jefra. Woo by default.

I could be way off, but I have to say that I have loved the way LJ is playing the game. Trish has been an enabler so far. She enabled LJ to integrate by playing emotionally, and liking LJ, and letting Lindsay get under her skin. She also was critical in the success of the nuSolana tribe at the merge, she enabled them all to last. But, will she win? I just don't know? I think if she can play really smart and settle down perhaps she could.

I do see Kass as making a perfect goat at this point, but is she too unstable? I think she could be, fwiw.

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45. "RE: Interjection..."
Hello FP. You make a good case for LJ. I completely agree that he is playing a great game out there but his edit doesn't reflect that. His exploits are continually being ignored. Jeff's recaps make it seem like he isn't even there. I won't be able to share your enthusiasm for his chances until the editors focus on his story.
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49. "RE: Interjection..."
Sigh. You make a pretty good point, michel. Always love reading your take, amazing as always!

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50. "Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
The episode started with Jeff reminding us that Aparri and Solana had finally merged and a new idol with different powers was put in play.
(Tony’s confessional about the idol’s special powers was repeated)
The real struggle for power was between two alliances and Sarah was playing both sides.
(Again, it was Tony’s confessional that was chosen to explain the two alliances)
We then heard Sarah saying she wanted Tony out and guaranteeing her alliance that he didn’t have an idol.
Kass had other plans
(We heard Kass asking in confessional “who made her queen?)
At Tribal Council, Sarah could only watch as her game unraveled ... Her control turned into chaos.
(We see Tony and LJ playing their idols)
She went from the queen to the first member of the jury.
Her former allies identified Kass as the flipper and we heard Spencer saying that she had zero chances of winning the game. Kass’ reply was partly muffled and the camera focused on Tony instead.

The recap put the blame of bad game play much more on Sarah than on Kass. Kass’ confessional did show her as acting emotionally but it would have been worse if they had chosen to repeat the part about destroying the game. Jeff’s recap almost rationalized the move. The upcoming episode would let Kass and Spencer tell us about the two alternative views of her move.
This episode should have aired next week because it was more like an Easter egg hunt.

Our Game Has Devolved Into This.

Solarrion – Night 19

The scene started with Spencer saying: “Nice job guys! It was pretty cool.”

Spencer’s confessional was heard right after Tony said they lost two idols: “Tribal was insane. We voted for Jefra, she should have gone home and we dodged these idols and it’s all for nothing because Kass flipped and we are screwed. (The exchange between Kass and Spencer reported below was inserted here) Kass will fly in the face of strategy just because of how she feels. She will go basically wherever her estrogen takes her not where her brain takes her.”

This is what we were shown in the middle of Spencer’s confessional.
Kass told Spencer that she expected him to be mad, that she expected everyone to be mad. Spencer replied that he wasn’t mad, that he just meant it was a bad move.

After Spencer’s confessional, we heard Kass confirming his judgment: “I went with my gut, Spencer, That’s how I’m playing. I’m playing with my gut.”

After Kass asked for protection from Woo and Trish, she had a confessional: “The alliance of six let me go to the bottom and the number one rule of Survivor isn’t “cater to the person on top.” It’s wonder about the person on the bottom.”

Kass was still talking to the group at the fire, saying that “they” will realize what they did. That got a reply from Morgan: “What did we do? We didn’t do anything ...”
Tony said that Sarah was trying to get rid of Kass but Spencer said they weren’t.
Spencer said he didn’t want to talk strategy with Kass and he laughed when she suggested he had been out-strategized.

Kass’ confessional continued: “It’s like I pulled a hat trick on Survivor: I got rid of the girl I wanted to get rid of and two big lugs played their idols unnecessarily. Triple win. Right?”

Spencer, now in the shelter, said: “Stupid. Since day one, she played like a freaking idiot.”

Kass continued in confessional: “I knew they were going to be mad. So, I pissed off five people but I gained five friends. The pissed off people are going to get over it so, I don’t have an alliance. I am a free agent and everybody is mad that I messed up their game because I am playing my game.”

When Spencer gave his confessional, we heard only percussion instrument and the volume of the music was low. When Kass gave hers, strings were predominant, giving a tense feeling to the scene. When Kass ended her interview, the music sounded like a warning. Then we heard a thunder clap.

What do I make of this? The music editors use percussions in two different ways: The dissonant percussions tell us that we are listening to a dumb player but here it was to lighten the mood. The volume was kept low so that we could hear Spencer’s words properly, a sure sign that we had to take note of what Spencer was saying. I would say that we are supposed to feel for Spencer now that he has been relegated to underdog status once more by Chaos Kass.

Strings are used to underline a stressful situation so I believe that Kass isn’t meant to be seen as a Dumb Player even if she agreed she was playing with her emotions. I think it was important that we heard Spencer refute Tony’s accusation that they were targeting Kass so it means she was wrong to say that she was at the bottom of her previous alliance. She was also wrong to credit herself for getting “two big lugs” to play their idols because they were going to play them independently of her vote, but the viewers will credit her with that nevertheless.

The care Kass received from the editors tells me that she will strike once more, but I also think that she is overly optimistic about players getting over it and we know that the two present jurors won’t be voting for her. It seems certain however that the jury will have the final say on her move.

Solarrion – Day 20

Morgan was in her usual spot when Kass and Tony said she should get water. Morgan said she’d get water but that Kass was being rude. There was a short argument between the two, enough to make LJ happy.

Kass in confessional: “I am fairly certain that Morgan is in a constant state of center of the universe. She’s like an old dog ... that you are keeping alive because you love it ... That’s Morgan.”

After flipping them the bird, Morgan got out of the shelter and gave us a confessional: “Kass, she said I am being mean to her ... I am ignoring her ... she should be used to this ... She’s a bitter old lady ...”

Since we were shown this exchange, we can say that the vote tonight was once more decided by Kass’ emotions. Morgan certainly wasn’t a threat to win.

The Reward Challenge
(It really was more like a commercial for the Outback Steakhouse.)

Isn’t it nice that the “random” draw put all the Beauty tribe members together, making them available to shoot that Outback commercial? It’s almost as if Outback selected which models they wanted for their promo ... and for good measure they placed the idol clue in the napkin of the guy in most danger. How convenient!

LJ, Spencer, Jeremiah, Jefra and Morgan won the challenge in which, once again, LJ showed he was the best puzzle solver this season.
Yet, once more Jeff didn’t credit him personally. It was always “the orange team” or “LJ and Spencer” even if Spencer was only handing the puzzle pieces to LJ.

Back in camp, we saw the losers try to make the best of it.
Tony gave us a confessional: “I am so pissed off that we didn’t win the challenge today. We could have had a big juicy steak but, you know what they say: it’s better to be pissed off than being ___ on.”

Kass used the time to put the target on Spencer instead of Jeremiah. Trish said Kass could decide the next vote and Tony agreed since she knew them better.

Kass in confessional: “I am not even in an alliance; I am still a free agent. No one has said: “Kass, you are in”, but there is an assumption that I am in. Already, Tony and Trish said who would you want gone next? I said I don’t care as long as it’s not me and I want to reinforce that so that there is a comfort level when I need to come in for the kill.”

Just then, we saw a machete in the foreground, in front of Kass. The camera’s focus had been on Kass, but it quickly shifted to the machete and then the camera went to Tony. That strongly suggests he will be her next big kill. We aren’t finished seeing chaos from Kass.

The scene ended with Kass saying: “What if I made a mistake? So what?”
Tony asked if she was happier now. She certainly was.

Tony had a confessional: “Kass is telling me how she is going to be solid with us. She seems sincere but she is really hard to read because she doesn’t have any facial expressions. She’s like a stone face. I can’t tell if she is lying to me or not and I am a police officer. I am hoping that she is staying with us, but again, you always got to prepare for the worst.”

During the voice over portion of this confessional we had the familiar “Fog of War” shot that featured both Kass and Tony. Kass was walking behind Tony and both were engulfed in the smoke from the camp’s fire. This suggests that Tony will indeed be confused by Kass’ actions, that he won’t be able to read her intentions. But Kass was also behind the smoke so maybe her conflict with Tony will make her lose sight of the big picture.

After talking to Woo about the idol, Tony started his search and gave a confessional: “Last time at Tribal Council, LJ and I played idols but there is a new hidden immunity idol with special powers around camp. That is a needle in a haystack, but there is nothing but time on this island. I went out there and I started looking in tree holes, climbing trees, I’m doing all kinds of stuff because I need to find that idol. It’s a security blanket that I would love to cover myself with.”

Hilariously, just then, Tony got stung in the back by the branch of a tree which suggests once more that he will get hurt by the idol he covets.

Outback Commercial - Take one:

Of course, Morgan was selected as the spokeswoman (they may as well use her for what she’s best suited): “As soon as we arrived ... we were greeted ... we started off with a salad ... we went on to a fully loaded baked potato and the steak which was amazing.”

Then it was Spencer’s turn to give a confessional: “The steak was probably the best tasting steak ever.”
Jeremiah then joked: “Stick a fork in me; I’m done.”

We’ve known that Jeremiah was done since the 4th episode

Spencer’s confessional resumed: “Out here, I’m not concerned with manners so I just said: “forget the napkin, I’m eating”. It takes me to the end of the meal to realize that my hands are gross so I wiped them off. I open the napkin and out falls a piece of paper. I wonder what that could be so I put it in my pocket because I think it’s going to be some kind of clue to an idol. I need a game changer right now and this could be it.”

There were two glaring omissions in this scene:
- No one thanked LJ for winning that big reward for them. Someone certainly had to say something about LJ’s clutch performance so this was another missed opportunity to get more viewers on the LJ bandwagon.
- No one talked strategy. It was the ideal time for Jeremiah, Morgan and Spencer to lure LJ and Jefra away from Tony’s side. We have to assume that they made their pitch so why didn’t we hear it? The most obvious answer, considering the upcoming vote, was that LJ and Jefra refused to listen to any offer. If the game is in for a wild finish, it won’t come from these two.

We can add that this group wasn’t given as much attention as the one that lost the reward. It’s certain that the game will depend much more on the interaction between Tony and Kass. Spencer is the only member of the reward winning team that was important enough to feature and his idol will also play a role.

Solarrion – A Day in the Life of Survivors: Four Thousand Holes to Dig.

It was pouring rain when the winning team got back to camp.
Spencer in confessional: “I get to camp and all of a sudden a downpour comes on. I’m just trying to keep this thing dry. Tribal Council isn’t that far away so time is money right now.”
We saw Spencer slip out the back and he read the clue as soon as he was out of sight.

The rain subsided and Morgan noticed that Spencer was missing.

It led to a confessional by Woo: “I am a big fan if Survivor. I know that, when there’s a reward ... there’s usually a clue to the immunity idol. All of a sudden, Spencer takes off so what do I do? I start to follow Spencer.”

We saw Woo take the path to follow Spencer and he had to cross right in front of LJ who was only concerned about chopping firewood.

It gave me the impression that LJ was unaware about the game of Survivor. He wasn’t thinking like Woo or he would have been following Spencer himself.

Since the clue led him to the river, Spencer took off his shoes and pants. He then put the clue inside the fold of his pants.

Woo’s confessional continued: “I’m going to pull something out of my arsenal which is my ninja stealth mode.” Woo reached the river just then and used Sandra’s old trick of looking through the bushes. His confessional continued: “You better believe that I am going to be lurking in the shadows. Boom! I spot him. He is digging through the side of a wall and automatically I’m assuming that he is looking for the immunity idol.”
(Clay would say: “No #####, Sherlock”)

Spencer decided to look up the river a bit and ran into Woo. Having been discovered, Woo told Spencer that he forgot his pants. He picked them up and threw them to Spencer. That’s when Woo saw the clue fall to the ground.

Woo’s confessional resumed: “I go to pick up his pants and, as soon as I do, boom! Out pops the clue to the idol. Woo (!) is going to pick up that clue and give it back to him? No way!”

Realizing what happened, Spencer raced to catch up with Woo, who continued with his interview: “I high tail it ... There’s no way he’s catching me.”

We then heard Spencer’s confessional: “Woo bolted with the clue and that guy can run. I knew that pandemonium was about to ensue.”

The next segment started with Woo walking into camp, telling everyone about Spencer’s clue.

We heard more of Woo’s confessional: “I knew that finding the immunity idol wasn’t going to be easy. So I run to camp and tell LJ: You got to follow me man and, from there, the search party is on.”

Note that the music was mostly filler during Woo’s confessionals. It could have been accompanied by the familiar kooky theme but Woo’s expressions and speech pattern supplied all the comic relief needed.

Spencer also arrived in camp with a slightly different version of the events; “He threw my pants in the water and took the clue from me.” He enlisted his alliance mates in the search.

Spencer explained in confessional: “When Woo ran to camp, I knew it was time for me to get my troops in line as soon as possible. It’s a race to see who can get it first.”

Does it matter that we had two versions of the way Woo wound up with the clue? I think it may. From what we saw, Woo didn’t take the clue from Spencer; it just fell when Woo tried to give the pants back to Spencer. Yet, we would soon hear Kass saying that she didn’t approve of what Woo did. Instead of simply telling us that Spencer was careless with the clue, an impression was created that Woo took it from him.

Getting a look at the clue from LJ, Tony said he knew where that was.
Tony in confessional: “It’s a mad treasure hunt for that idol and, you know me, I love action so I’m in. Count me in. Which way is this?” Soon, everyone was digging holes in the river bank. Tony went on: “You have two different alliances looking for an idol at the same time.” (Even Morgan showed up!) “You know it’s bad when Morgan, the girl you can’t tell if she’s a pillow or a person because she doesn’t do anything, you know it’s serious when she’s up on her ##### and she’s looking for this idol.”

The music swelled in intensity to underline the adventure.

Spencer had the important confessional: “I’d say stress is at a peak right now. I’m in a bad position. We have everybody looking for this idol and it’s likely that whoever finds it, will find it in front of everyone.” Spencer’s frustration grew when Woo asked Kass to keep an eye on him while he went to get LJ. Spencer turned to Kass and said: “Funny how our game has devolved into this, isn’t it?” Kass said she didn’t approve of what Woo did but that it was Karma for Spencer’s behavior. He apologized. His confessional continued: “After this whole fiasco of Woo stealing my clue and everyone going to look for the idol at once, I’m digging and I’m right by Kass and right in front of me is the idol and Kass is watching me like a hawk so I keep digging and acting like I haven’t found it. I wait until she’s not looking, stuff in my pants and walk the other way. Kass is so blind that I found it right in front of Kass’ face and she didn’t see. Today is complete euphoria. I’m still shocked that I found it. It could not have worked out better. My position in the game is just on the brink of ecstasy and devastation all the time, but it’s a whole new game as far as I’m concerned and I bought myself a lot of time potentially.”

After the adventure theme, the music nicely underlined Spencer’s find. This could mean that this idol won’t be wasted. Hearing Spencer say that Kass was blind reinforces the “fog of war” image we had earlier: Tony will not see what Kass is doing but Kass won’t see what Spencer is doing.

It was weird though to hear Spencer say it was a normal idol because there couldn’t be two types of idols in play at once. (After all the seasons filmed in the Philippines, maybe this idol was left over from a few years ago!) I think Spencer must have misread the instructions that this was the idol with special powers and maybe Spencer doesn’t play it as efficiently as he could.

Day 22 – The Challenge

There’s a theory that uses the parallel between Lord of the Flies and Survivor: Some posters believe that a player shown with a fly on his body is cursed and cannot win. I have trouble believing that anyone has been able to look at every frame of every winner and see that a fly was never shown on their body but it is true that a fly cursed Mike during a crucial Redemption Island challenge and he was eliminated right after. Others, including Cochran in South Pacific, could also have been victims of the fly curse.

Jeff did mention flies, asking: “What do you do when bugs come flying on your body? They are annoying. How annoying? Are you going to swat it away? You are probably out of the challenge.”
If that curse holds up, then a whole bunch of players were eliminated during this challenge: Besides Morgan, the fly hit Tasha, LJ, Woo and Spencer. Jeff said that Spencer made a nice recovery right after the fly was shown on his ankle. Is winning the challenge enough to break the curse?

It was an interesting challenge and the players showed their determination considering they lasted over 90 minutes whereas the Dream Team had given up after only 10. Well, not all the players lasted long because Kass couldn’t stay up more than a few seconds. Jeremiah, Trish and Tony weren’t impressive either.
Morgan dropped after 25 minutes and she was quickly followed by Woo, which left only Jefra, LJ, Tasha and Spencer to make it passed the hour mark. Despite Tasha’s impressive determination, Spencer won immunity.

If Spencer wins the game, this challenge could very well have served to symbolize it because he suffered a lot and he had to struggle to hold on. That’s what we’ve been seeing from him since the second episode. Receiving the necklace from Jeff, he said he had been dreaming of this for a long time which would be a nice quote to show at the reunion where he could echo that sentiment.

Solarrion – Day 22:

Spencer received congratulations from Tasha and Trish.

Tony in confessional: “Spencer was very desperate to win and he won. He pulled it off. That’s the will you need out here to Survive.”

Doesn’t that make a fine winner’s quote if it was used to foreshadow Spencer winning the whole thing?

Tony’s group asked Kass if the other side had an idol. Kass said she didn’t believe they did. The group made Morgan their Plan A while Tasha was Plan B.

I wonder what happened after Spencer found the idol. Was he smart enough to continue looking? If the mad hunt suddenly stopped then they either agreed they needed a second clue or they’d figure it was found.

Tony had a confessional to explain their decision: “Tash is definitely a physical threat along with a social threat, but Morgan does not deserve to be here. People that work hard, that bust their ##### around camp deserve to be here. People like Morgan that don’t do anything; they don’t deserve to be here. As far as numbers, my alliance is in the power position right now. It’s six of us against 4 of them, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. The problem with tonight’s Tribal Council is going to be if Spencer found that idol, it’s going to be very tricky on who we vote for. If they have an idol and we vote for the person that uses the idol, one of us six is going home. If they don’t have an idol and Kass flips back with them, there will be a tie: Five – Five. We draw rocks and one of us goes home. So, I’m hoping she stays with us because, if she doesn’t, there’s going to be some trouble.”

When Morgan suggested their side vote against Kass, Spencer was quick to point out that she is the only person who would even consider flipping. He wanted to vote Tony on the off chance he’d do something stupid at TC. He thought Tony was the best option because Kass “changes her mind at the drop of a hat”.

Spencer (solo): “It’s kind of ridiculous but our option now is Kass. The person who screwed us over is the one person who may be crazy enough to help us. I am safe because I won immunity so the idol could help but it would only work if I had someone who would flip with it. Someone who is willing to flip could tell us who they’re going to vote for, helping me to use my idol successively and change the dynamics of the game.”

Spencer approached Kass saying that she wouldn’t have lost all the jury votes if she went back to them because there would be two of them on the jury.

Kass in confessional: “I knew this would happen: The human in you wants to forgive someone and be friends again. So, I was banking on that when I made my move; that the five people I allegedly betrayed would get over it because there will be many more betrayals.”

I knew this would happen: The human that makes a mistake finds a way to justify his actions! Kass didn’t wait for the press tour to start putting her spin on the story. If she thinks Spencer approached her because he wanted to be friends again, she has a poor read on human nature.

She told Spencer she was a free agent and that she would consider his idea because she wanted to get to the Final 3. Spencer suggested they vote against Tony.

Kass went on with her confessional: “In my opinion, Spencer had some pretty good arguments. I would not like to sit next to Tony. I think he is much too charming and everybody likes him. Morgan is annoying and she’s a #####. She is going to stay that way so she’s not really a threat. She’s just extra luggage that we are carrying around here. At this point, people know that I am willing to play this game. They brought me their game plan and I can either go with it or change people’s lives. That’s how I am in the court room too. I do trial by ambush. It’s not a recommended strategy by any legal authority. It’s probably not a recommended strategy by any Survivor authority, but I love the ambush and I love the blindside.”

I know it’s very unlikely but I wonder if Morgan’s promise to change, to start working, influenced Kass’ vote! One thing I do know: If Kass is ever invited to return, she will be the first one voted out, ambushing her. There might even be a few lawyers anxious to ambush her in real life!

Tribal Council

Tasha interacted with Sarah when she entered to Council area by showing her a heart.
Jeff asked Tony about the power shift.
Tony said the wind changed directions.
Kass wanted to make sure everyone knew she was the wind that blew.
(Sarah rolled her eyes)
Kass added that she got the cold shoulder from those that felt betrayed.
Spencer said: “I respect big moves but I felt betrayed ... I got a little out of hand.” When Jeff pointed out that he must feel relieved that he is immune, Spencer replied: “I play the game to win the game. I would rather risk going out now for a shot at winning than extend my stay in the game.”
That seemed to either surprise or impress LJ.
Asked about the vote, Tony said: “We made a consensus as a group so that we could have smooth sailing ahead.”
Turning to Morgan, Jeff tried to help her out by throwing Jeremiah under the bus.
Morgan agreed that she wasn’t a threat and wasn’t well liked.
Trish said she could add to the list of reasons to take Morgan along.
(Sarah was surprised by her boldness)
Morgan explained that LJ and Jeremiah took good care of her at the beginning so she got used to it.
Jeff suggested she was used to it also back home.
Morgan said: “Absolutely.”
That shocked Jefra, Sarah and Kass.
She added that most people would choose to be cute instead of ugly.
(For some reasons, I don’t know why (!), the camera went to Trish when Morgan said that.)
Probst loved that quote.
Morgan apologized for not working hard and promised to improve.
(That’s the old Jean Robert strategy!)
Jeff asked Jefra about numbers, pointing out that Kass was now their number six.
Jefra said they were all even, simply links in a chain.
Jeff stopped her: “When have you seen an alliance where there is no one on the bottom?”
Tony said the other side was an alliance by default; that they simply came together because of the swap.
Spencer couldn’t see how their alliance was different.
Tony said they handpicked each other.
Spencer said someone is always on the bottom.
Jefra said that it could happen in the future.
(The cymbal crashes made it a certainty)
Tony was quick to say that Kass was in a comfortable place and was sticking with them.
Jeff said that Kass was unpredictable.
Trish said there was a risk she could flip back to the other people, but they were treating her as well as everyone else in the alliance.
Kass said she understood the game; that she made her decision even if there was no alliance made, no guarantee. She added: “When I go to Vegas with a friend ... I don’t mind beating him.”
That pained Tony.

After retrieving the voting urn, Jeff said that it would be the time to play a hidden immunity idol which is what you’d expect he’d say for a normal idol. (What gives?)
Spencer remained seated which brought smiles to Tony and LJ.
Morgan was voted out 6-4.
She turned to Tasha and wished her luck.
Tony and Trish exchanged winks.

In his final words, Jeff pointed out that they didn’t vote out the biggest threat which means they could not trust what anybody said. He added: “The good thing about that is: If you’re on the bottom, it doesn’t mean you’re out.”
I will let you guess who got the close-up when Jeff said that.

The Story:

It seems that the most important confessional of the episode came from Kass when she said: “I pissed off five people but I gained five friends.”
It now seems certain that Kass will go to the final judgment and that she will have Spencer sitting next to her because their debate about Kass’ strategy can only be resolved there. This season is set-up for a Final Tribal Council that will decide the validity of Kass’ flip, I mean, move. Kass and Spencer were the two actors during the “Welcome me to the Bottom” scene so we now have to determine which one was the protagonist and which was the antagonist. Will it be only between those two or will a third player join them? It hardly seems to matter.

The Characters:

The Peripheral Players - They are buried in holes so deep that the editors are forgetting them:

Jeremiah: It’s always nice when the editors use a player’s own words to confirm what we saw: Jeremiah’s chances are done.

Jefra: She’s merely a figurant and the camera finds her when it’s time to give some facial expressions. If Jefra is to be the Sole Survivor, the viewers will be left to wonder if they missed some episodes. She could still find herself as the runner-up though which I would find hilarious.

Trish: It was quite strange to see that the recap didn’t even mention Trish’s role in the big shift of power. The last episode had opened up the possibility of a renewed story for Trish, but this episode brought us back to our original impressions: Trish’s role isn’t important to the overall story of Survivor Cagayan; she was only the guess star of last week’s episode.

The Lost Players – They had good roles in Act I but are dangerously close to falling in a hole of their own.

LJ: I feel that LJ and Jefra have reached the same destination despite taking opposite directions. If LJ is our Sole Survivor, the viewers will be left to wonder why they weren’t shown his story. It really wasn’t a bad story but I think his role was nicely symbolized when Woo started running after Spencer: LJ was right there, but he didn’t realize that there was a game going on. He was so busy working to survive that he forgot about Survivor.

Tasha: If Tasha is our winner, we would know why: She is good at the physical and the social games. The heart symbol she made for Sarah and Morgan’s good luck wish revealed that she already has two locked votes on the jury. This beautiful, strong willed woman would not be so neglected if it was her season. We didn’t even get to hear her thoughts on Kass’ betrayal which had to hurt her more deeply than Spencer. Tasha probably deserves to win this more than anyone besides LJ, but that’s not how the game is played and it’s certainly not what the editors are telling us since they aren’t letting us hear her thoughts.

This Week’s Guess Star – He Popped out of a Hole for our amusement:

Woo: His numerous backers will be very encouraged after this episode. Woo could be our Sole Survivor and he would deserve it since he is such a big fan of the show and knows how to use Ninja stealth tactics to his advantage ... or so it seems. Without using any other manipulation than the extreme close-up of his confessional, the editors made this likeable player look weird. His smart idea was delivered in such a way that it turned him into an over the top cartoon character. There’s also the troubling fact that, while it looked accidental, the way he came into possession of the clue became questionable, Kass saying she didn’t approve of what he did. Woo could win this season and many would cheer, but that outcome would also look accidental. After all, his story is much more about failures: Spencer found the idol and woo has no idea that he has it. Another of his missions failed.

The Season’s Star Villain:

Tony: While he is aware that Kass is hard to read, he decided to trust her. Jeff reminded him that she was unpredictable but, lost in the fog of war, Tony won’t know how to deal with Chaos Kass. He won’t have the idol he covets either and, like the branch (the stick!) that pricked him in the #####, Spencer’s idol could very well play a role in his backstab. Tony loves action so that’s probably why he won’t be content with an easy, straight pagonging of the opposition. A methodical approach is required in his position, the ability to determine who would be the best opponents to take to the end, but I doubt that Tony can slow down now that he is getting close to the end. I think that, in his mind, the New Aparri is already finished, but they represent 3 votes that could help someone going against him.

The Debaters :

Kass: Her confessional reminded us that she isn’t a goat for everyone: She did make five new friends after all. Her chances hinge on the seating arrangements: If those five new friends are all on the jury, she could win but if a couple are sitting next to her, she has no chance. The problem is that Kass cannot send them to the jury herself or her new friends will resent her as much as her old ones. Quite the dilemma! Luckily, she has Tony who is so anxious for some action that he could blow up his alliance for her benefit.

By giving her ample time to explain her move, the editors confused the situation. Many viewers will agree with her: It didn’t matter if she made a mistake because those she betrayed will forgive her after they see more betrayals. The problem is that resentment usually grows when players get to the jury. Even if Kass doesn’t betray anyone else, if the future jurors all stab each other in the back, they will look at her and think she doesn’t deserve to be there, that she made her way to the end because she can’t win.

That being said, we heard Kass say that, as an attorney, she never lost a case so she will be a formidable opponent if she is given the opportunity to dissect her game. I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard her say that she never lost a case because she loses this one. We heard from ex-soldiers that Survivor is harder than their tours of duty (yeah, right!) so this could be leading to Kass saying that a Survivor jury is harder than a real life one.

Spencer: I think that the main opposition to seeing Spencer win will come from viewers pointing out that he was wrong to say that Kass was playing like a freaking idiot. That could certainly pass as arrogance, as a sentiment of superiority but I will refute that argument by using what we were shown:
- Kass agreed that she was playing with her gut, her emotions.
- Tony explained Kass’ action by saying her old alliance was targeting her which Spencer quickly denied.
- Kass thought Spencer was coming back to her in friendship when he was only looking to use her.
- We were allowed to hear Spencer apologize to Kass, both during the search and Tribal Council. If he was to be seen as an arrogant mean kid, we wouldn’t have heard his apologies. Instead, we saw a player that had a reason to be upset, but getting over it and making the best out of the situation.
His play to get Tony voted out didn’t work this week but it made him look like someone that is always thinking ahead. Sooner or later, he will succeed in overturning Tony’s alliance and go on to be the Sole Survivor.

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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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04-15-14, 11:20 AM (EST)
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51. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
LAST EDITED ON 04-15-14 AT 12:15 PM (EST)

I wonder if anyone else - watching Spencer hang on to defeat a member of his own 4-member (minority) alliance in the F10 Immunity Challenge and then hang on to both the Immunity Necklace and an HII while another member of that alliance was voted out at the subsequent Tribal Council - was reminded of Nick, Austin, Sally and Terry - in Exile Island?

Or if anyone remembers how that (Exile Island) sequence of events - and its aftermath - was handled editorially?

Because it seems to me that it wasn't until an Episode or so later that it became clear to viewers that Terry's recruiting efforts were irreparably damaged - and his eventual isolation assured - by his self-serving caution.

And doesn't this same sort of conservative gameplay by Spencer stand in stark - editorial - contrast to Tony's and LJ's earlier display of esprit de corps? And, if it does, is that a good or bad thing - in Cagayan?

Note: That Spencer was aware that Morgan would be the evening's target was visually established by the earlier shot of his (passive) reaction to the verbal attack on her by Tony, et al, if by nothing else. Was it not?

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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04-15-14, 09:07 PM (EST)
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53. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
Editorially and otherwise, I see very little of Terry in Spencer. Terry was always a one-note character, thinking about his numbers. Spencer is more well-rounded as a character.

Terry's recruting efforts were mostly foiled by Cirie and I don't see anymore close to being as smart as Cirie in Tony's alliance. We've seen that they've let Kass hang around with her former allies alone in the shelter so a flip is coming.

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Georganna 129 desperate attention whore postings
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04-16-14, 05:18 AM (EST)
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55. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
LAST EDITED ON 04-16-14 AT 05:22 AM (EST)

Terry's recruting efforts were mostly foiled by Cirie and I don't see anymore close to being as smart as Cirie in Tony's alliance. We've seen that they've let Kass hang around with her former allies alone in the shelter so a flip is coming.

But we've also seen (and are seeing) Kass' collaborative relationship with Trish become more important to the Season's story. And I would submit that Trish, though certainly not as witty, nor as photogenic, nor as ingratiating as the Survivor icon, may well be very close to being just as smart as Cirie.

Certainly, the in-Game circumstances of the two older women (in Exile Island and Cagayan) were eerily similar. As were the circumstances (if their characterizations are not) of Spencer and Terry. But, until this last TC aired, I would have argued that Spencer was much more aware of - and determined to avoid - the pitfalls inherent in faux leadership than was Terry. Not now.

I do agree, though, that a flip is coming. But, keeping in mind that Tasha styles herself (misguidedly, I think, but there it is, anyway) as a decidedly incongruous meld of Ozzy and Sandra and that the coming Episode's pregnant question - "How big is loyalty?" - set up housekeeping with Luzon on the Game's first day and has never left, I think that it is more likely that we are going to see her exodus from - than that we are going to see Kass (the also Sandra-like anarchist) return to - a sinking ship.

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Flowerpower1 175 desperate attention whore postings
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04-16-14, 07:21 AM (EST)
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56. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
I agree that Spencer has been getting the best edit so far...we all know that EPMB love their underdogs and let's face it, Spencer has a great story. But I too have felt that LJ's quieter start is definitely in the mix. Time and again, however, michel raises excellent points regarding LJ's edit, or lack of edit. But, regardless, it's amazing to me that LJ sized up Morgan at the start, found the hidden HII, then was swapped and in a bad situation but capitalized on the friction the other tribemates brought and ingratiated his way in.

He labeled Tony as the one to watch, and befriended him to the point where that friend played his idol for him, and then he in return backed him up with his own idol play.

Usually, Tony gets what he wants. He's playing the game hard, and why wouldn't LJ pick Tony as a BFF? As long as he is around there is a bigger target than himself.

Regarding Spencer, there were several ominous quotes from him this week, but we all know that doubt, when cast, is a good thing for the eventual winner. When Spencer noted he had waited his whole life to win that IC, this could also be the kiss of death. Now that he 's won the IN, he can now go.

Also, regarding this exchange at TC: Spencer said: I play the game to win the game. I would rather risk going out now for a shot at winning than extend my stay in the game. Then this was immediately followed by LJ who as you pointed out seemed to either be surprised or impressed.

I have to say again, is Spencer's game over as he's saying that he would rather take risks to win than to ride along to the end with no hope of winning? We all know that this is exactly what Jiffy loves and would rather have, so maybe Spencer is the icon of how to play the game, but will he win? Ciara got the love last season, and she did not win. Additionally, why is LJ shown immediately after? LJ is taking it all in, apparently he does not miss a trick. Is he the barometer for all the other Survivor's actions and statements this season? Is he shown after statements like these because HE is the eventual winner, as Tyson was last season?

Now, with the next episode there appears to be a lot of doubt cast on LJ, and Spencer has disappeared from the promos. Loyalty, getting your hands dirty, threats within your alliances are all coming into question and LJ is apparently front and center in the promos. I am reminded that the eventual winner needs to have some doubt cast on him/her, so I have to ask, is this it? Food for thought.

I also have to add that Georgianna makes some very valid observations and speculations as I too have considered that Tasha will be the one to throw loyalty to the wind at one point or another. After all she was the secondary boot target from the majority group and wouldn't it be fitting for her to go from bottom to top in the next episode in a season that has underlined this event time and time again? This will definitely be a pivotal episode one way or the other.

Just throwing a few comments in the mix, but make no mistake, I value your input and thoughts, michel. You are definitely amazing at this stuff! But, sometimes I think I can be guilty of seeing things through rose colored glasses regarding my own favorites for the season...

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04-16-14, 05:41 PM (EST)
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58. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
Thank you, FP, for pointing out some possible game ending quotes from Spencer. Maybe it was intended to tell us his story is done or maybe it was to put doubts on his chances. Good editing always gives us alternatives to ponder.

For me, the most interesting point was that Spencer's name was mentioned as an immediate threat for no reason at all. Kass told everyone that Spencer was dangerous. Why did we need to hear that when he would soon become immune? It either sets him up as a target this week or helps his inderdog story. His position on the minority doesn't need a set-up.

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04-15-14, 11:34 PM (EST)
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54. "RE: Survivor Cagayan - E8 - Our Game Has Devolved Into This"
LAST EDITED ON 04-15-14 AT 11:34 PM (EST)

I've been wondering if Spencer's edit this season is reminiscent of Malcolm's in Caramoan. Malcolm was kind of sleepy early on in the season (although still there), but really exploded into the season in the late pre-merge to early post-merge.

Although yeah, the way he handles the idols is much more Terry than Malcolm. He's definitely been getting a sort of Malcolm-esque edit this season, though. That's really the main reason why I have trouble anointing him as the season's definite winner right now.

Everyone else has real problems with their edit, so he's kind of my winner by default. But I don't like it very much.

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04-18-14, 11:13 AM (EST)
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60. "And, moving right along ... "
How are Tasha's chances looking ...

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04-19-14, 08:26 PM (EST)
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61. "Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
Previously on Survivor, after Tony and LJ sacrificed their idols for each other and Kass flipped, the power shifted to a new majority alliance of six led by LJ and Tony.

With the hierarchy of power intact, everyone’s attention shifted to finding immunity idols. Fortunately for Spencer, he found one though it wasn’t the idol with different powers ... and at the Immunity Challenge, he outlasted all the rest.

Facing Tribal Council, the majority alliance was worried about a possible hidden immunity idol.
At Tribal Council, they stuck with the safe vote.

There isn’t much to analyze in this recap except that it settled the debate regarding Spencer’s idol. There’s still at least one idol to find and Spencer should be the only one that knows it. Will he figure it out?

The Domino Effect¸

Solarrion – Night 22

A curious night creature looked on as the Castaways returned to camp. Like us, it seemed anxious to see what would happen this week.

What we first saw was Tony putting his torch to rest on the side of a tree and knocking out five of his competitors’ torches.
We can assume that Tony’s action in this episode will have ripple effects for the rest of the season. Will all five of his alliance fall because of him?

Immediately, Tony asked Spencer why it was a compliment that they tried to get him out for the second time.
Spencer said it meant he was a threat.
Tony explained that they voted out Morgan because she wasn’t worthy of being there.
(I guess Goat only means Greatest of all Times to Tony)

Tony had the first confessional: “When Jeff turned that card and it said Tony, I probably pooped on myself...


...I didn’t expect to see my name. I am a forty year old bald old man. You have Woo that’s clearly more athletic than me, you have LJ who is younger and more athletic than me. Why am I a threat? Why is everybody trying to get me out? Now, here we are again: Six against three, but it’s never that easy just because you have three sitting ducks. I can be done tomorrow. I am not going to sit there and make a fool of myself by saying: Yeah! I can’t wait until we get to the six. That chance might never come for me and it’s definitely not going to come for some of them.”

Spoiling the outcome of the night’s vote, the camera gave us a close-up of LJ right then. The chance certainly never came for him. Too bad the angle didn’t widen to show a few more targets, but then again, spoiling one episode at a time is more than enough. Give us a chance to speculate, please!

The next morning, Trish and LJ were discussing Tony’s paranoia, wondering if those votes were going to put him on scramble mode.
Trish in confessional: “I think a lot of trouble in this game comes when people start getting paranoid, people start getting impatient. Tony definitely has a lot of paranoia and OCD stuff. He spins a lot; his brain is going all the time, but this is a game of patience right now so hopefully he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

Tony took a walk in the jungle with LJ, already planning to set him up.

Tony in confessional: “Looking at LJ is like looking at myself in the mirror. He’s sharp; he’s keeping himself two or three steps ahead. So, I want to see LJ gone but I don’t want to be the bad one to get rid of LJ because he is in my alliance. We are tight and he trusts me 100 percent. So, I have to try and trick LJ into making him break a promise that he made to one of our six. Once he does that that is my safe way out. I am not only leading the horse to the water, but I am going to make the horse drink the water. That’s my goal right now.”

Tony may not want to be perceived as the bad guy and many viewers didn’t see him as the villain but his words typify a villain’s confessional. He sees himself as being smarter than everyone else so he tries to fool them all. His plan was a lot like Kim’s when she got Troyzan to target Mike but he wasn’t in the same position: She only needed to convince Troyzan because her core alliance was in on the deception. She didn’t think she could fool them all. Tony was planning on getting his whole alliance to buy into his scheme. He only wooed one member of his alliance so resentments are bound to surface.

Tony’s plan was to tell LJ that Woo had found the idol but was keeping it secret so Woo had to go before he could use it. We heard his explanation when his confessional resumed: “I’m telling LJ that Woo has an idol but it’s not true. LJ proposed to me: Let’s blindside Woo. That’s all I needed to hear. So, I’m going to tell people: You don’t know what he is thinking. He’s quiet and he’s sneaky and that’s more scarier (sic!) than a person like me. You know; I’m in your face but LJ on the other hand; he’s been thinking about all of you guys since day one behind your backs and you wouldn’t know about it. That’s what I have to do: I have to pin everybody against LJ.”

Solarrion – Day 24

After Kass read tree mail, we heard Jefra saying how much they needed a spa day.

Tony gave us another confessional: “Today we get tree mail and it says it’s going to be a reward challenge and when you go with the reward and you get pampered and people get sensitive and the emotions come out, they might form bonds. There’s a possibility of talk there, there’s the possibility of strategies being mentioned and scenarios so it’s very scary so that’s why I want to win this challenge. If anybody strategizes and comes up with plans, it’s going to be me.”

When Tony mentioned that rewards could lead to talks of strategy, we had a close-up of LJ and it reminded me that LJ didn’t use his reward time to form those bonds. Maybe the image was telling us that he missed his opportunity. He will miss another one later.

The Challenge

The random draw put Tony on the most athletic team with Jeremiah and Spencer. LJ was teamed up with Trish and Jefra while Kass, Tasha and Woo formed the third team.
Jeremiah gave his team an early lead, but LJ’s team wasn’t far behind. Tasha had to switch with Woo because their team was falling behind.
When it came to throwing the bags through the tunnel, Jeremiah kept his team in the lead but we heard Jeff say: “LJ; I don’t think he missed one. He made up a lot of time for the orange team.”

(Sure Jeff, now you recognize LJ at his true value... A little too late but that’s precisely why we heard it only now.)

Sensing the win, Tony took over and started bouncing the sandbags on the trampoline and into the five baskets. He got on a roll and his team won before either of the other two teams made a single basket.

Tony had a confessional as they left the arena: “Winning a challenge sometimes, it can be crucial in the game. I am going to talk with Spencer and Jeremiah because I am thinking of blindsiding LJ. You can call me the opportunist because, if I see an opportunity, I am going to jump on it.”

The way Tony pronounced “...and Jeremiah...” certainly sounded that the viewers’ perceptions are accurate: Tony considers Spencer as being the best person to discuss any future plans while Jeremiah was more like an afterthought.

Solarrion – Day 24

Woo had a confessional: “Coming back from the challenge, I was seeing myself getting my mani and my pedi on while grinding down on a nice chicken wrap and following that bad boy with a nice cold mimosa. But, Boom! I snapped back into the reality, like Oh Man! I am probably going to be spending hours on the fire and, you know, eating a plate of white rice. On a lighter note, it’s kind of nice to know that my boy Tony is going to keep an eye on Spencer and Jeremiah and make sure that they don’t jeopardize our game plan.”

It’s hard to say if the editors are presenting Woo as comic relief or if they simply want to feature him. Woo has a naturally funny demeanor which is amplified by his confessional close-ups but that isn’t really editing manipulation. The one thing that was included that was truly funny though was his last sentence: He thought Tony would make sure Spencer and Jeremiah wouldn’t jeopardize their plans, but little did he know that Tony was the one jeopardizing them!

Right after, Jefra said: “They earned it. They kicked our butts.” Trish agreed.

This suggests that the three men will earn their way deeper in the game. It goes back to a thought we had at the beginning of the season when the men were falling one after the other and the women had the numbers to take control. We figured the men would recover and, even if LJ left, this episode saw the men – and
Tasha - start to take control.

Jefra had a confessional: “Everybody’s down because we didn’t win the reward but personally, it doesn’t bother me. As great as it would have been, I am still here in the game and I really do believe in our core six and I think we all know it’s best if we stick together right now.”

This confessional is telling us one of two things: Jefra gave us a rare confessional because she is going to be voted out soon so they may as well show her before the end. Or, Jefra will remain in the game, and even if she doesn’t win anything, she will be happy just being there. If Jefra isn’t voted out in the next two weeks, there is a real possibility that she plays the role of Natalie Tenerelli in this season’s finale. Finishing as a runner-up again! I mentioned the irony of that possibility but hardly believed we’d see it. The next scene made me think that there is still a long way to go for Jefra before she gets crowned runner-up.

LJ, Trish and Jefra were sitting on the boat, discussing Tony’s paranoia and how he was targeting Woo.

If Tony’s actions will create a domino effect than these three are the dominos. First LJ, then Trish followed by Jefra?
LJ in confessional: “The fact that Tony got a lot of votes at Tribal Council, it made him feel like: “They want to get rid of me, they want to get rid of me”, but it doesn’t matter because I built a strong bond with Tony, proving my loyalty to him. I pulled my idol out for him and we’re in it to the end. I trust that he will do the right thing.”

When LJ said that Tash, Spencer and Jeremiah had to go next, Trish said: “If anyone of those three make it to the end, they win.”

Now that’s a nice sign that one of those three is our winner. I thought it was too obvious that Denise would win when Swan and Malcolm said she would so I’ve learned my lesson: Being too obvious won’t stop these story-tellers. We have to conclude that Tasha or Spencer (and probably even Jeremiah) is going to win if one of them makes the Final 3. Now we have to hope that none or more than one make it to the end if we want some suspense.

Trish had a confessional: “Tony is panicking because he thinks Woo may have found the idol and I know how to get to Tony. I can tell Tony that he needs to relax.”

Trish is just one more player that has delusions about Tony.
LJ gave us more of his thoughts: “I made a plan for the future and it relies on patience. As long as we go with the plan, we can control everything.”

When LJ talked about his plan and needing patience, the image of Gregg in Palau sprang to mind. In addition to their physical similarities, those two suffered similar fates for waiting too long.

The scene ended with Trish saying that the six staying strong is the best scenario for the three of them, suggesting they should be the Final 3.

Now that we know it won’t happen, we are left to wonder if they are the next three.

The Reward

Spencer was seen in confessional as soon as they got their first drink: “For me, reward challenges are a chance to better my position in the game. Right now, I definitely have the odds stacked against me, I’m not in a powerful position and I am down, but I am not out and I’ve been down before and I got back up so there’s no reason I can’t get it back. I was really happy to be paired up with Jeremiah who is kind of my right hand man at this point and Tony, the guy I’d like to hear from and see where his head is at. Who knows? Maybe it will give me new life in the game.”

This confessional goes nicely with Jeff’s comment that you can’t give up in this game.

Tony turned to Spencer and asked him about his thoughts. Spencer said it depended on Tony. Jeremiah, who appeared to be more preoccupied with the shower than the talk, jumped in, asking Tony if he felt comfortable. Tony said he never feels comfortable. Tony added: “Wait until the time comes.” Spencer wondered if the time would come. He told Tony that they were like pawns.

Tony in confessional (we were all expecting one, no?!): “Talking to Jeremiah and Spencer is allowing me to have another big move that is going to get me to the top. I just need them for one vote when it’s time to get LJ out and then I will go back to my alliance, but right now they are desperate. When people are desperate, you do the thinking for them. So, whatever I tell them, they got to go with it. If they go against me, they’re sealing their own fate.”

Does anyone think that it will be as easy as Tony thinks to go back to his old alliance? I certainly don’t. He burned the bridge with Trish, Kass and Jefra and he will need to get them out or they could easily be the ones to go with Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah.

Jeremiah had a confessional of his own (now that one was less predictable): “Tony is guaranteeing that he’s got my back, he’s guaranteeing that he’s got Spencer’s back. I mean, his wheels are turning and he’s trying to play the game. Right now, I have to believe him a little bit, but still I have my doubts. He might be playing us, he might be getting us pumped up, making us feel all good and then our names get written down.”

Spencer’s confessional followed: “Right now, I will be honest; I don’t trust Tony that much. Tony is playing a lot of people right now, he’s juggling a lot of balls and I’m just one of them. He doesn’t know this but I have an idol and, if I feel uneasy, I will not hesitate to use it, but I will tell Tony that I trust him 100 percent because, if he can take me a little further down the road, I might find a little detour that can take me all the way.”

This reward was missing something: A clue to the idol. Why didn’t anyone find it? Could it be that there are no more clues to give? That could mean that the special idol is hidden in the same wall of mud as the first or that it is hidden in plain sight and no clues are needed.

Solarrion – Day 25

Tony and LJ were chatting about the reward while Tasha looked on.
Tasha in confessional: “It’s day 25 and I’m in a three-person alliance up against a six-person alliance. It doesn’t take a CPA like myself to do that math. So I need to convince someone to flip or make a big move. I think LJ is smart enough to realize that Tony is not going to take another strong guy to the end.”
Tasha invited LJ to discreetly meet her in the jungle so that they could talk.

LJ had a confessional where he told us that he didn’t want to meet Tasha because Tony was a “flaming ball of anxiety.” Anyway, he didn’t feel that she could help him in any way.

Tasha in confessional: “I invited LJ to rendezvous with me to discuss some strategy and he stood me up. If LJ was man enough to make a big move, he could take Jefra, Spencer, Jeremiah and I and blindside Tony, but it’s clear that Tony is running the show around here and everyone is under Tony’s thumb. So, unless something changes, I am screwed.”

I wonder if this scene was shown only to make LJ look bad. It could be part of Tasha’s story and I can imagine her answering LJ’s Final Tribal Council question about her actions in the game by saying something along the lines of “I was always trying to make plans but some of you were simply not ready to play, feeling comfortable in their position. I had to make other plans and they worked well enough to get me here.”

On a funny note, this is the second guy to refuse a discreet rendezvous in the woods with Tasha! Garrett and LJ should know that you don’t stand up a beautiful woman!

After LJ read tree mail, Tony had his 92nd confessional of the night: “This challenge today is huge. I am thinking in my head that LJ is a clever guy; that it’s going to be the matter of who throws the first punch between the both of us. Timing is everything and this could be my time to strike so, if LJ doesn’t win immunity, he could be the next one going home.”

The Immunity Challenge

In this memory test, most of the players didn’t do too well. Trish was eliminated on the 2nd tile of round one. Woo joined her on the next tile.
The second round saw Jefra, Kass, Spencer and Jeremiah fall on the 6th tile. The 7th was the decisive one and Tasha beat out Tony and LJ.
It was funny to see that LJ was as confident about being right that he was during Tribal Council.

LJ had his confessional placed in the “kiss of death” spot: “When Tasha won immunity, immediately my mind starts cranking. Tonight, all we need to do is split the votes 3-3 between Spencer and Jeremiah so, pending everyone sticks to the plan, one of them is going home.”

Solarrion - Day 25

When the castaways returned to camp, they congratulated Tasha.
Tasha (solo): “I’m so excited. This was a do or die challenge for me today. I knew that I had a one-third chance of being voted out tonight so this pretty little thing around my neck secures three more days for me. So: In your face, LJ! Ha-ha!”
Seeing Spencer and Jeremiah walking out of camp and Tasha probably still in confessional, LJ proposed splitting the votes. Tony asked if he was worried about an idol. Trish said no one would flip at this stage of the game.

LJ had a confessional: “For the first time in this game, I feel comfortable... Tony is concerned that Woo has an idol and that we should do something about it which is so stupid...We just need to stick with the plan.”

Jefra proposed that the girls vote for Jeremiah while the guys vote for Spencer. They agreed.

Tony was heard in confessional: “Here’s the deal: I won’t wait to get a punch thrown at me by LJ. He said he was willing to blindside Woo, It’s true; I kind of set him up, but I don’t care. I am going to try to pin all the trouble making around camp on LJ because that is what I have to do. LJ is a threat so I have to strike now before he gets the idea of doing it to me. But first, I have a lot of work to do.”

Tony went to work on Woo, telling him that LJ was willing to break his promise to him.

Woo in confessional: “I was 100 percent down with the six, but apparently LJ, mister con-man, for some reason wants to blindside me. If he is coming to Tony, my closest ally, and saying that Woo has got to go, we may have to make a big move before he does. I trust Tony that he’s got my back so it’s great to have him on my side and, if all goes well, it’s going to be another huge night at Tribal Council.”

Tony’s next step was to tell Spencer that LJ was the target.
Spencer gave us an interview: “Tony initially wanted to save me and Jeremiah for a later move, but apparently LJ is plotting to get out Woo. Tony is ready to make a big move now.” After agreeing to get Jeremiah and Tasha on board, Spencer’s interview continued: “I’m stoked. It’s like Christmas morning. I woke up expecting to see nothing but ashes and coal under the tree and there’s this present of “Let’s vote out LJ”. It’s kind of too good to be true. This could be a big lie so that I don’t play my immunity idol. Still, I’m going to take anything I can get right now. If I can get just a little further down the road, have a few votes go my way, it’s a whole new game.”

Compared to Tasha, Spencer is shown looking much further ahead. It isn’t just three more days, it’s a few more votes and a whole new game that he is contemplating. Contrary to Woo, he sees that Tony could be lying to him but he is weighing his options. This connects well with his comment to Jeff that he is willing to risk being voted out early if it gives him a better chance to win down the road. And, as game play goes, Tony would be more likely to lie in order to get him to waste his idol than to have him keep it for later.

Spencer told Jeremiah that they could just let them kill each other but that they’d still have to keep an eye on Tony because he was smart.

Letting them kill each other is another hint that we could be seeing the dominos fall one by one.

The crazy bats returned when Tony went to talk with Trish. He asked about the conversations that happened when he was on reward. Trish said: “LJ was concerned that you were worried about Woo.”

(Right there, Tony should have realized that his plan had been busted, that he couldn’t pin all the blame on LJ but he trudged along anyway.)

Tony went on with his lie: “I wasn’t concerned, he was concerned.” Trish was adamant; LJ was clear that it was Tony who wanted to eliminate Woo. Tony replied that LJ was sneaky, that he wouldn’t be content with 4th place.

Trish in confessional: “Tony is getting really paranoid. He told me today at the well, that LJ was trying to break up the six, but LJ told me a completely different story. He said Tony was totally freaking out. He wants Woo gone so I don’t know what to believe now. It’s definitely possible that LJ is up to something. I think LJ is up to a lot because he wants to win, but Tony has also played me and I am gullible, but I am not stupid. There is no way I am going to break up the six.”

Back in the shelter, Trish was resting next to Kass who wanted reassurances. Trish told her that Tony was pissed because of the four votes he received.

Kass gave us a confessional: “I love a good blindside, but it’s too soon. No one wants to make a big move right now. You’d be stupid and I think Tony knows that. All six of us are in a great position as long as we stick with our alliance.”

I just love irony and, in that regard, this confessional was priceless. In fact, it could be the most ironic we’ve ever heard in the history of Survivor and we have had some memorable ones. What Kass just said could apply word for word to her own position at the merge. That other alliance of six was in a great position, it was too soon and if you’d be stupid to make a big move now, imagine back then.

For some reason, the camera briefly showed us Spencer and Jeremiah again, saying they weren’t completely convinced that Tony would go through with it.

Tony then had the last confessional of the episode (I don’t want to write the last confessional of the evening because maybe he had another one during your late local news): “Right now, I have a huge plan in play, but Trish is telling me to keep the six strong. So, if I get rid of LJ, there’s going to be a lot of hard feelings. Trish has been with me since day 1, she is my closest ally, but if I do this, she might turn her back on me and the whole thing could blow up in my face. If that is the case, I may have to stick with my alliance. I’d rather make my power move now but, in life like in Survivor, you have to know when to kiss @ss, you got to know when to kick @ss. Unfortunately, I’m in a position now where I might have to kiss @ss and get rid of Spencer and Jeremiah.”

The only reason to show the exchange between Jeremiah and Spencer was to let us know that they aren’t completely fooled by Tony. They are the only ones that haven’t fallen for his lies so that bodes well for their future. Note that Tony will be disregarding the premise of his original plan now and will forge ahead even if he knows that he will look like the bad guy.

Tribal Council

Once more, it was Tasha that was shown making a connection with the jury. Sarah looked very pleased to see her with the necklace.

Jeff first addressed Jeremiah about the tribe’s division.
The male model told Jeff it was a tight six but the camera showed us Tony.
Jeff turned to Kass, asking if she had empathy for her three former allies.
The jury showed they had no empathy for Kass.

Kass, who had nicely been seated right next to her three “friends”, said: “I feel like it’s the game, Jeff...You can’t play this game and not get a little dirty.”
That seemed to encourage Tony in his plan: “When you come into this game you are accepting the fact that you are going to be deceived and stabbed in the back. That’s why I brought my bags of tricks.” He would only tell Jeff that the bag was helping him feel a little more comfortable.
Jeff pointed out to Tasha that Tony wouldn’t need a bag of tricks if it was such a tight six.
Tasha said she was glad to be wearing the necklace.
(That scored another point with the jury)
Tasha added that it was good to stick around longer because fractures might appear in “tight alliances”.
Jeff pointed out the air-quotes Tasha used.
LJ said it was just a reality check for Tasha. That remark seemed to offend Sarah, but it only drew a small smile from Tasha. LJ added that he was vaguely approached but that he didn’t want to cause anxiety inside the group. He said that loyalty was huge in his line of work so that he had a good eye to gauge it.
Asked about his line of work, Tony repeated the lie about being in construction, forgetting he had told his whole alliance that he was a cop.
Only Sarah seemed to react to the lie, but the viewers had to wonder why he was keeping it up.
Kass said that loyalty matters in her life but that she checked her life at the door when she entered the game; that you have to be selfish to win this game.
The jury didn’t like hearing that either.
Woo said that paranoia was inevitable but that their six was still strong and he was going with the flow.
Spencer couldn’t say who was on the bottom but he knew someone had to be. He added: “If you are being told that you are part of a tight six then maybe you are on the bottom.”
Astutely, the camera showed “we are just links on a chain-Jefra” at that moment and then moved to LJ.
When Spencer said it was time for people to start thinking of putting themselves in a position to win, Woo and Tony were shown.
Trish said their “Brady Bunch” would soon become dysfunctional and would start to break.
Jeff remarked that it was only a question of when it will break. Trish said it could happen tonight but that she was unaware of anything.

Spencer didn’t play his idol but we saw his reaction when Jeff turned the final ballot.

LJ simply said: “Well played” Jeremiah was relieved, Jefra and Kass were shocked, the jury could hardly contain their joy while Tasha also expressed her relief.

Jefra wanted to know who flipped while Jeff said that Survivor was an individual game.

I rarely use the player’s last word but this time LJ talked about the difficulty of finding the balance between patience and making moves. His explanation of the dangers of moving too early coincided with Kass appearance in the voting booth, another indication that she moved too early.

The Story

The season’s story has always revolved around the reactions of the players to the realization of their precarious position in the game. Time after time, we saw players advance when they didn’t overreact to adversity but calmly found a way to remedy the situation. It has led us to our main themes of the season: “It isn’t bad to be on the bottom” and “You should never give up”.

This episode showed a player (guess which one, you may have seen him once or twice tonight) completely loose his bearings after receiving four votes. Making it worse, those votes were practically meaningless. Granted, Spencer had said they could be useful if Tony was going to do something stupid, but that was supposed to get Kass to flip at the previous Tribal Council. He never mentioned they could get Tony to flip in this episode but that is exactly what they did.

This episode also showed us that it isn’t easy to handle Tony and that most continue to fall for his lies. Considering what happened to the first player he fooled, Sarah, we expect that all those who blindly followed Tony will fall like dominos, like those torches that fell to the ground.

The Characters

The Dominos

Trish: She was in a good position to warn LJ, to get him to talk with Woo before Tony poisoned the martial artist’s mind. She could have done that when the cop was still on reward so that Tony would have been completely boxed in. Instead, she relied on the belief that she could handle Tony. Her future will depend on her reaction in the next episode, but we’ve seen that she is very emotional. She could very well be the next domino to fall.

Jefra: She was one of the three dominos shown on the boat with Trish and LJ and she was the first one to wonder who flipped. It is to be expected that Jefra won’t handle the betrayal calmly, that she will not accept to let Tony back in the alliance. We can only wonder if she will oppose Tony directly which would lead to her immediate elimination or if she will find new allies in the pawns that Tony used.

Kass: Some will say that the repetition of Spencer’s quote: “Kass: Zero chance of winning the game” is telling us that she will indeed find a way to win it all but this episode made fun of Kass on numerous occasions including her own confessional where she said that it would be stupid for someone in a solid alliance of six to move so early. The jury’s reaction told us that Kass will never get their votes if she makes it to the end. Granted, Sarah and Morgan only have two votes but, by showing their reactions, the editors are already setting the tone for the reception that waits for Kass.

The Follower

Woo: The one who sees Tony as his closest ally is fast becoming a fan favorite to win the season, but his story is in grave danger. One conversation with Tony was enough to get him to break up his strong alliance. There is no doubt that he will continue to follow Tony, but if the story is to be believed, that should lead him to his elimination.

The Player

Tony: What can I say about Tony that hasn’t been said already? His plan failed. Sure, he was able to eliminate LJ but that wasn’t his plan. He wanted to pin all the trouble in camp on LJ so that his whole alliance would want to get rid of him. Only Woo followed. He didn’t want to be seen as the bad guy but that is exactly what he accomplished. He wanted to use Spencer and Jeremiah for only one vote and then return to his alliance. He may have to hook up his wagon to theirs instead. LJ did say that it was well played, but I doubt that he will be so generous when it comes to award the million. We heard so much about the need for the alliance of six to stick together that Tony’s move became a copy/paste of Kass’ betrayal.

The Pawns (If one of them makes it to the end, they will win)
Jeremiah: After being neglected for most of the season, Jeremiah acquired a certain importance in this episode. We saw that Tony waited for him to get in the shower to start the real discussion with Spencer but Jeremiah jumped in and asked a very relevant question regarding Tony’s state of mind. Then we saw that he wasn’t fooled by Tony. That could mean that his story is getting close to its end but that would go against the Domino theory so I suspect that he is simply seeing more airtime because he is going to cast doubt on the eventual winner’s chances. Viewers will think that he will take up a spot in front of the jury or that he could earn a few votes because of his charm.

Tasha: The jury’s favorite has to be considered a strong contender. Doubts surround her chances of making it to the end, but she would collect many votes if she makes it. Can she be our hidden winner? Her story was very good early on but it disappeared for most of the middle part of the season so I’d see it as an incomplete story, but it could happen. My only reservation was that we mostly heard her talk about the immediate security that her necklace procured. She told Jeff that she was looking for fractures in the “tight alliance” and she wanted to blindside Tony but that was still only one move. If we go further with the chess analogy then it must be noted that a pawn can become a queen, not a king!

Spencer: Since he is a good chess player, Spencer must know that using too many pawns too early is deadly. By getting Tony to use him, Jeremiah and Tasha so early, he has severely weakened his rival’s position. Some of Tony’s other pawns are now “up in the air”, ready to be taken and the lines of attack have been left wide open. He told us that he only needed one or two votes to go his way to envision a whole new game. Now that he’s had one vote go in his favor, we expect that the next move will be the key to the season. A chess player usually knows when he reaches that crucial point; the moment when the next move will decide the whole game. It seems he will have two options: Continuing the Tony Gambit which could cause all the dominos to fall or turn those dominos into pawns that could overwhelm Tony.

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04-20-14, 01:29 AM (EST)
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62. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
Great observations once again, michel! You really have an eye for the editing.

The most interesting part of the episode for me was the Tasha/LJ thing.

I wonder if this scene was shown only to make LJ look bad. It could be part of Tasha’s story and I can imagine her answering LJ’s Final Tribal Council question about her actions in the game by saying something along the lines of “I was always trying to make plans but some of you were simply not ready to play, feeling comfortable in their position. I had to make other plans and they worked well enough to get me here.”

That was my initial reading too... That they were really trying to bury LJ with more regrets. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if the scene was really that essential that it needed to be in the episode. They edit out strategy meetings and rendezvous all the time when they don't matter, and LJ didn't really get voted out because he didn't meet with Tasha.

It makes me wonder if they kept that scene in the show to give Tasha more air time. After Spencer's idol heroics last week, and the fact that Tony approached Spencer this week, we were naturally going to have some very Spencer-dominated episodes around this time. The fact that they went out of their way this week (after a UTR week) to give Tasha a storyline makes me suspicious.

I said earlier that if Tasha is our winner, it would be pretty slick, and I still think that is true. She's been hiding in plain sight the whole time but we discount her because of all the recent Spencer focus. But maybe Spencer is peaking too much? I've compared Spencer to Caramoan Malcolm. But maybe he's actually Philippines Malcolm? Maybe he is the future-returning-player Malcolm to Tasha's Denise?

(By the way, michel, did you hear Rob and Stephen compare this season to Tocantins? Pretty uncanny how similar JT/Stephen/Taj are to Jeremiah/Spencer/Tasha.)

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04-20-14, 02:20 PM (EST)
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63. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
I still Tasha is the decoy, the player that we think could win, but her chances have greatly increased with this episode. Let's see where it leads.

The comparison to Tocantins came suddenly to Rob and Stephen when they compared LJ's boot to Brendan's. They even realized that the initials were the same but they stopped at that. The comparison is good in the general sense that a group of 3 could overtake the alliance of 6, but not on an individual basis. Jeremiah isn't at all like JT and Tasha has received much less attention than Taj. It seems that this season's "Stephen" would beat "JT".

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04-22-14, 00:32 AM (EST)
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64. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
Sorry for my lack of input this season - as always, it's been great reading everyones opinions each week and it's truly my favorite part of the post-episode downtime. Thought I should actually put my two cents in as I've basically had a single take on the editing ever since the premiere and haven't really wavered since (with the exception of one of my two picks being unceremoniously booted).

Ever since E01, I've been adamant that it's either Morgan or Trish winning this season. Trish because she's actually had a very subtle and nuanced, but surprisingly detailed edit, particularly tonally. And Morgan because, basically, her edit was so manipulated and contrary to the reality that I couldn't imagine any reason for it OTHER than her winning somehow.

I wrote a detailed breakdown at the merge of everyone's edit and what it said about there winning chances here :-

But honestly Trish and Jefra are the only two people I could feasibly see winning at this point. If Spencer wins, I'd be almost offended considering how much they've revelled in him constantly being wrong and inept in his observations. Jefra doesn't really have much of a shot, but she's the only contestant I haven't ruled out besides Trish. Most of her chances for me are based on the Natalie White model so, while not a strong case, there is precedent. And she's recieved a lot more subtle care in the editing than you would expect. A lot of the reasons why I thought the premiere strongly indicated a Beauty would ultimately triumph could still fall on to her now Morgan is gone.

But, basically, here is my season long case for Trish :-

* In the premiere, we spent an inordinate amount of time on Trish’s decision whether to take the clue or the rice. Not just a cursory scene to acknowledge it, but two quite lengthy confessionals explaining not just why she chose the way she chose, but how it made her feel AND how she recovered from it. It’s easy to overlook Trish early on because she has that kind of oversized cartoon character personality and that can skew immediately unlikeable/annoying on television that it’s easy not to notice how Positive certain scenes are being shown. The amount of attention and depth she received in that first episode (especially given that her tribe never went to tribal and there were MUCH bigger characters and stories to set up) is a huge plus for her longevity/winning chances.
* In episode 3, when Sarah is concocting her plan to throw the challenge and eliminate Cliff, we’re shown almost 100% Sarah and only enough of Trish to show she knew about it but nothing of her participating or actively screwing up. While Sarah is shown as coming up with a plan based on incorrect information and generally committing one of the cardinal sins of Survivor, Trish is portrayed as just doing what she needs to do to survive. All the negativity from that plan was thrown on to Sarah and Trish was basically shielded. Coupled with the fact that Probst has publicly done a complete 180 on the strategy to throw a challenge, it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s because one of the participants in said plan manages to turn it into a game-winning strategy.
* In the following episode we’re shown that, when Trish decides to make a power move, it happens right and it happens the first attempt. While both Sarah and Tony were shown as failing to eliminate Cliff and also as either dumb or overplaying, Trish is acknowledged to have made the right move and indeed praised for how smoothly it came off. Considering that Tony was the one who wanted to eliminate Mr NBA all season, it was Trish that got all the credit and confessionals for making it happen. That’s the difference between a winners edit and a losing one.
* Also worth noting is the whole conflict with Lindsay. While it was acknowledged that Trish can be annoying, most of the actual unacceptable behaviour came from Dread Central. If the conflict between them was genuinely so bad, why aren’t we being shown the fights in more depth? It’s extremely telling that in the immediate aftermath of the quit, Tony got all the on screen gloating, while Trish got calmer, more subdued and detailed confessionals explaining that while it is good for her own game, it’s sad to see someone ever go under that circumstance. Catfights are catnip for editors, especially these days, so the pains taken to make Trish look as thoughtful and rational as possible is only reserved for someone the audience is really meant to root for.
* HER MERGE EPISODE. Holy Jesus on a stick, it can’t be understated how strong an episode this was for Trish. After the premiere, the merge episode is traditionally the most foolproof place to look for a winning edit and this one was basically Trish >>>>>>> EVERYONE ELSE. We saw the Brains fall apart, we saw Tony and LJ waste their Idols, we saw Morgan’s Boobs do Pilates and not much else. But Trish? Trish was EVERYWHERE – keeping calm, astutely observing the new tribal dynamics, being the sole reason why Kass was convinced to flip and save her alliance. Trish is getting a random tonal edit pre-merge, but the reality is that her social relationships are strong, are we’re being constantly shown that she knows how to read a room and make things happen. Tony may have the idols, but Trish is the one repeatedly being shown doing all the talking. If that’s not a winners edit, I don’t know what is..

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04-22-14, 11:13 AM (EST)
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65. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
You reminded me that Tony was still claiming to be a construction worker, it seems nobody but Sarah reacting is odd and that was a real big slip up on Tony's part unless the rest of them don't care anymore or could it be that Tony telling them he was a cop didn't happen in the time frame of the episode it was shown in. Now I can't remember who was there when he told everyone so I could be grasping at reality here but it was unusual that nobody at TC called him out on the construction worker claim.

Again another very good dissection of another episode Michel and a good read.

Funny you use "fan favorite" when talking about Woo, I see him getting the votes for that. He is entertaining but not finale material. Too likeable and non-threatening to be goat material and eventually he's going to Ponderosa. I think you're right that his game isn't a winner's game.

Corrupting teenage boys since, well,
none of your business how long...

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04-22-14, 04:31 PM (EST)
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66. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
They didn't have a fan favorite last time.
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04-22-14, 08:35 PM (EST)
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67. "RE: Episode 9 - The Domino Effect"
Tony told his allies on New Solana that he was a cop. He may have asked them to keep it quiet to the members of New Aparri though so that could explain the lack of reaction. Or maybe the only reaction needed was Sarah's and the rest was cut.
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04-26-14, 03:53 PM (EST)
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68. "Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to Happen"
Previously on Survivor, everyone was battling for immunity idols and it was Spencer who found it...
Spencer is seen with the “plain old idol.”
... but the idol with different powers was yet to be discovered.
Tony was heard saying he wanted that idol as a security blanket.

There was also a battle between two alliances...
LJ told us that Tasha, Spencer and Jeremiah were easy pickings.
...But at the last reward, Tony saw a chance to use the minority alliance to his advantage.
We heard Tony telling Jeremiah and Spencer that LJ was shady.
He then told us that he was using them for that one vote and going back to his alliance.
Spencer told Jeremiah that they were good just by letting them kill each other.

At Tribal Council Tony got what he wanted ... blindsiding LJ and his alliance.

This recap really paints Tony in a great light. The only description we had of LJ was that he was shady. There wasn’t a single mention that it was all engineered in Tony’s feverish mind; that he lied about Woo targeting LJ, thus setting up the horse trainer. There was also the fact that we heard him repeating that he would go back to his alliance which, surprisingly, proved much easier to do than expected. In fact, this recap showed that Tony was better than Spencer at the mind games. Spencer thought they would be good, that Tony’s alliance would kill each other, but this episode would show that Tony was right; that he could go back to his alliance. It wouldn’t be his only victory.

Bad Things Are Going To Happen

Solarrion – Night 25

The same creature came back to take a look at the new tribe and to witness the reaction to the LJ blindside.
(Does it count in the program’s ratings? Will Probst boast that Survivor is number 1 in the strange creature category?)

Kass was heard saying she loves this game while Tony was proud to tell Jefra that he flipped along with Woo. Asked for his reasons, he simply said he couldn’t tell Jefra, Trish and Kass because they liked LJ.

Trish had the first confessional of the evening: “Tony completely bamboozled LJ. At first, I felt like wow! I wish I kind of knew but then immediately, I understood why he didn’t tell me. He was afraid that the plan might get destroyed so I wasn’t mad. I still trust Tony and Tony still trusts me.”
There are two schools of thoughts on Trish’s confessional: Some will say that she is extremely gullible and her trust won’t be rewarded while others will say that she knows how to handle Tony, that she will get him to take her to the end where the jury will give her the money. We’ll have to get back to this during the character analysis.

Kass asked if it was only a one vote alliance which Tony said it was.
Jefra wanted to know if she was on the bottom of the alliance, but there was no such thing as a bottom in the alliance according to Tony.
Spencer reacted to that saying that it never works out when people promise top six.

Spencer in confessional: “I like to plan around what I think people are going to do. Tony is not so predictable. Tony likes big move and I’m not going to complain about it because it benefitted me, but he could do the exact same thing later and I can’t always count on him. The sooner we make a move against Tony, the better. I am real tight with Jeremiah and Tasha, now it’s a matter of finding out which straggler we need to take along to make moves with.”

While Tasha and Jeremiah were equally qualified to give us the minority alliance’s view, it was once more Spencer that was chosen to give the confessional. It really sets up the mind game between Spencer and the “not-so-predictable” Tony.

The next morning started with a confessional from Tony: “Right now, my red flag is raised because I blindsided LJ. I’m in trouble so I’m going to have to do something to get myself out of it. Most people, including myself, we go all the way to the water well because it is a bit further away from camp where people can’t hear you. That’s where they talk strategy. So, I started working on some nice blueprints to make a nice little shack around the water well...I’m within five feet and that’s where I will be most patient: Sitting in my spy shack.”

Sure enough, Jefra came along, telling Trish that she didn’t trust Tony.
Trish said that the alliance was still strong.

Tony reacted to that: “I heard Trish and Jefra talking. Trish said that Tony was going to win an academy awards for his acting skills.” The camera went back to Jefra who added that she was OK with LJ’s blindside but not the way Tony did it. Tony’s confessional went on: “Right now in the game, I trust Trish, I trust Woo and I trust Kass and that’s pretty much it. I don’t trust Jefra anymore because she doesn’t trust me and if she doesn’t trust me I’m not going to trust her so now I’m in trouble.”

The spy shack had only been a subject of derision in an early episode and had since been forgotten, but we finally saw its usefulness. Tony didn’t exactly hear the biggest secret though and Jefra had already expressed her concerns during the discussion they had the previous night. So, was this scene shown to feature Tony’s ingenuity or to further mock him? All I can say is that it made me laugh.

The Reward Challenge

Notice that, once more, the random draw gave optimal results: The underdogs had the needed straggler on their team.

The Callao caves ( ) was the destination for the winning team. There they would have a barbecue and a surprise.

During the challenge, we heard Jeff saying that Tasha was doing a good job leading her team, but, working together, Tony and Woo soon took over and their team found their rhythm. They kept the lead all the way back to the platform even if Tony lost a paddle.
When they had all the paddles untied the two teams started copying from each other.
(Would it be so hard to put a wall between them? Since rewards are mostly designed to create frustration, production probably likes the added animosity caused by the appearance of “cheating”.)
Jeff said Woo and Kass were solving for Orange while Tasha and Spencer worked for Purple but really everyone was contributing. (Except Jefra but she was probably suffering from a concussion after Jeremiah hit her with a paddle)
Kass came up with “Worth Fighting For” which quickly led to Spencer “stealing” the solution.

Tony had a confessional: “We lost today’s challenge and the first thing that comes to mind is that we are in trouble. Tony’s in trouble too, but we are all in trouble. There are four people: Spencer, Tash, Jeremiah, Jefra – Jefra that doesn’t believe in me anymore, that doesn’t believe she is in an alliance anymore – that’s a problem. Bad things are going to happen.”

If Bad things are going to happen for Tony, they certainly didn’t happen in this episode. I still chose this quote as the theme of the episode because we’ve reached a point where the season could unravel.

Solarrion - Day 26

Woo said he felt bitter about losing
(Was it an indication that he won’t take his elimination well?)
Kass worried about Spencer, Jeremiah and Tasha. Tony agreed, saying they “are going to pull in Jefra”

Kass had a confessional: “I’m tired of losing, but if I want a million dollars, I need to stick with this five: Woo, Tony, Trish and Jefra. From my point of view, Tony felt threatened and got rid of LJ. I’m not offended by someone making a move. Tony is annoying but my philosophy is: Keep the annoying people and get rid of the threats. If Spencer loses immunity, Spencer needs to go.”

Nice philosophy but what if a threat is annoying you? Sarah came to mind.

Tony addressed Kass, saying: “We didn’t promise you, but we promised us and we can include you in the promise because we didn’t break our promise to LJ.”

The audience remembers that LJ was included in the “Top Five” vow that Tony made in his joy of winning a challenge so here’s another occasion where we can scratch our head at what he says. It wouldn’t be Tony’s last struggle with logic. And that was quite a contorted way to make an offer to Kass. She must think that Trish is the one to rely on to stay in that alliance because Tony’s words would have been enough to make anyone bolt to a new alliance.

It was at that time that Trish returned from the well and was surprised to see them talking strategy. Even if Tony replied that they had to strategize and Kass asked how she felt about having Jefra over there, Trish was more interested in the lemon and papaya trees she had discovered. She wanted someone to come help her bring them down.

Tony had a confessional: “I’m trying to talk to Trish about strategy. I’m trying to do something, trying to enlighten them to what s going on; how crucial this was today. This could be the beginning of our demise and she is saying: Where are the limes and papayas? So, Tony has to go strategize by himself as usual. I just need a few minutes to myself. I am going to go look for the idol. Limes and Papayas? you got to be kidding me. As far as the idol that is hidden in the riverbank, it’s very possible that Spencer, Tash or Jeremiah have it, but, when we had a merge, it said that hidden near camp is an idol with special power. That’s all I know about it. Let me find that idol: I’ll be super-Tony, Tony-in-trouble no more.”

It’s strange that Tony is certain that the riverbank idol isn’t the idol with super powers. Spencer only found out after reading the instructions. We are missing something and I will make a guess: We didn’t hear it but when LJ was voted out, Jeff may have added the phrase: “...Unless you have the idol with special powers”after he asked him to bring his torch. He could have used the same formula before snuffing Morgan and Sarah’s torches and that would be how the players found out about the presence of two idols.

Last week, Kass had a secret scene where she said there were two different idols and we know she didn’t get a clue during a reward so something must have been said to alert them, whether my guess is right or not. To the viewers who don’t know about Kass’ secret scene and don’t realize Jeff may have given them the information, Tony looks a lot wiser for seemingly having figured this out all on his own. That is always a good sign for a player’s chances.

We left Tony to his search so that we could join Trish and Woo standing under a tree that had papayas that looked “like Morgan’s boobs”. Woo climbed the tree and started shaking it.

Woo in confessional: “I’m shaking this papaya tree. Boom! I get at least seven monster papayas. That branch that I had in my right hand was a dead branch that I didn’t realize. From there, I was trying to pull a Sylvester Stallone, like cliff-hanger, swing my left hand but as soon as I swing it: Oh! Boom! Spencer, Jeremiah, Tasha and Jefra are on an epic reward and this is exactly what I did not want to happen, but I was very lucky to come out of it OK. We got some fresh papaya and some lime so, you know, I’m pumped.”

It seems that even Woo’s successful missions don’t necessarily go as well as planned.

The Reward

Following a guide, the winning team walked through the Callao caves. They appeared magnificent but we never really had a good look. The guide told them to watch their step and Spencer nearly fell.
Spencer had a confessional: “The reward was really, really cool. The caves had a scale about them that was just epic. There’s no other way to describe it.”

Seeing the table full of food told us that our visit was over.
Tasha gave us a confessional: “Although the caves were magnificent, even more magnificent was the table of food. It felt like your home town barbecue.”

Spencer had another confessional: “I was on the reward with no distraction, with my core alliance, Jeremiah and Tasha and Jefra who we need to pull in. It was perfect because I need Jefra to feel good about us and our four.”

When Tasha asked her how she felt, Jefra said she was confused because she hadn’t been told about the big move and didn’t know where she fit in the alliance.
Tasha wondered if there was even an alliance before adding that it wasn’t in their interest to keep Tony.
Jefra was all for that idea.
Spencer asked her if she would like to work with them.
Jefra said she needed more food to help her think about that but that’s when the guide returned with some letters from home.
Jefra broke down in tears as soon as she saw the envelope with her name on it.

Jefra in confessional: “Before I could even get the letter from home in my hand, I was already squalling and screaming. It was exactly what I needed. My mother’s words hit home for me so hard. As much as you don’t want to break down, as much as you don’t want to cry, sometimes it’s your only option.” She read a passage out loud: “Don’t let your kind heart be your downfall, don’t be scared to lie.” She added that this was probably the sign that she should jump ship at this point. Her confessional resumed; “I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I won the reward because I needed to hear exactly what my mom was telling me.”

The scene ended as they all shook hands on a Final Four deal but Jefra pointed out that Jeremiah had shaken her hand before.

Actually, the four never shook hands together. First, we saw Jefra and Spencer shaking hands then she turned to Tasha and she hesitated to take Jeremiah’s hand. At that point, Spencer raised himself to get a group handshake but Tasha had already turned away and Spencer was left hanging. Of course, with Jeremiah’s elimination, we know that this will not be the Final 4, but should we look for any more signs from this scene? It could very well be telling us that, like Jeremiah, Tasha and Spencer don’t make it to the end because Jefra left them hanging.

The Immunity Challenge

Jefra was the first to drop the ball. She was quickly followed by Trish and Tony. Then, out of nowhere, Kass fell out of the challenge.
The other four made it to round two, a round which quickly claimed Jeremiah.
We were down to the same three that had won the three previous immunity challenges: Woo, Spencer and Tasha. The trio lasted up to the third and final round.

From the overhead shot, we saw that Tasha had to turn 90 degrees to her left in order to keep the ball on the stand, but we weren’t shown how she managed to do that. It’s strange that we wouldn’t be shown such an amazing recovery if Tasha was going to be our heroine.

Woo was the first to fall during the last stage.
Jeff pointed out that we had seen this showdown before, when Spencer pulled it out.
This time Tasha came out on top.
Despite his frustration, Spencer was the first to congratulate Tasha.

As the tribes headed back to camp, the editors gave a confessional to Jefra: “I don’t feel safe with Tony. The rest of the alliance believes everything that he says, like he’s Jesus or something. I am more trusting of Tasha, Jeremiah and Spencer at this point and it could be my opportunity to get rid of Tony now versus having to get rid of Tony later.”

Jefra was wearing the blue top she had during the reward when she gave this confessional instead of the bikini she wore during the challenge. This confessional was probably taken right after the reward but used here to keep the suspense going as long as possible. It also serves to paint a poor picture of the rest of the alliance that believes in Tony like he was Jesus. That’s how we’d expect the jury to see them from afar, but even if someone that is inside the alliance sees them like that then it can’t be a good sign. It tells us that none of them could win a jury vote against Tony. The last sentence raises a funny question though: What if Jefra, of all people, is the one that gets credit for eliminating Tony?

Solarrion – Day 28

After receiving congratulations, Tasha gave us a confessional: “As of now, the plan is for Spencer, Jeremiah, myself and Jefra to blindside Tony. The problem is it could be four and four and we may have to do a revote and go to rocks, but we feel like the most important person in the game to vote out is Tony.”

Tony, not one to waste time, was seen running in the jungle as we heard a confessional start in voice-over: “No necklace for Tony once again so, today, I am not chopping down no wood, I am not making a fire, I am not boiling water, I’m on a mission. I need an immunity idol. In the past season of Survivor, it’s always been something iconic, some landmark. So, I figure there’s a crazy looking tree behind tree mail. I checked that when I first came here. I’m going to check that again. I’m looking for that special idol and, you know what? I’m going to find it.”

While Tony was digging, Trish was talking to Jefra in the ocean, saying she could see that she was upset.
Jefra said it was because she didn’t feel safe in the alliance with Tony.

Trish gave us a confessional: “We get back to camp and I notice that something is wrong with Jefra. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She looked like she was almost on the verge of tears.”

When Kass joined them Jefra said that Tony was getting on her nerves.

Meanwhile, Tony was still searching. We heard him some more: “So, I went to the tree by tree mail: Nothing is there. So, I said “let me walk the path in case something pops out and I ran into a tree that looked like a rocket ship. It had these big roots like...I never seen anything like it. I got to start looking here. I start digging and then I felt something. I start digging, I start digging, I start digging. Please let this be it.”
We saw him pull it out of the ground and he collapsed in relief.

During his search, the music had been subdued, adding to the intrigue but not really creating anticipation. The rhythm increased when he got near but there wasn’t really a crescendo when he got to it, just some higher, louder notes to underline his find. What do we make of this? Should we be happy that he found it or should we be upset that it will foil Tasha’s plan? For once, it seems that the editors didn’t take sides, letting the viewers decide for themselves.

Tony’s confessional went on: “I almost passed out. I was just so happy and when I open it, it is a special idol.” We saw him kiss the idol and say that he loves it. “This special idol that I found today is priceless.” As he read the instructions, we understood why: “...Unlike other hidden immunity idols, this idol can be played after the votes are read.” “After you hear the votes, you can use it? Everybody’s eyes went “biiing!” “This immunity idol protects only the person who finds it. You may not give this idol to another tribe member.” We saw him racing off to go wash up as his confessional continued: “Do you know how powerful that is? I am going to show you how powerful that is.”

We know how powerful such an idol can be. It could be the key to Tony’s win because he can’t be blindsided anymore. All the hints we had that he didn’t want the special idol because it could send him home or that he could get hurt by the idol just like he got hurt looking for it amounted to nothing. If we were wrong about that then we could be wrong about the rest also but there is still an impression that Tony is used for our amusement. Showing him kiss the idol, say he loves it and then rushing off to go wash up was too much to take him seriously. What I mean is that, with all his excitement, Tony still looks like he will overplay his hand.

We rejoined the three women in Tony’s alliance to hear another ironic comment from Kass: “Whenever you get rid of someone in this game that is annoying you, you screw yourself.”

Thank you Kass! You just confirmed that you screwed yourself when you voted against Sarah, the person that was annoying you.

Trish told Jefra that eliminating Tony would give the power to the other three and that they couldn’t beat them in the end. She added: “We have a much better shot of beating Tony and Woo in the end.”

That’s when Tony joined them so Trish asked him if he could be trusted. Tony gave them his word and swore on everybody that the other three would go next.

Trish in confessional: “So, I was questioning Tony’s integrity and he admitted that being a double-agent isn’t going to work and Jefra needed to hear that I was calling him out. That’s why I did what I did, but I think she is pretty loyal, I don’t think she will flip.”

Kass brought up the fact that she thought Spencer had the idol.
Woo felt that would screw them.

Woo in confessional: “Tasha is safe tonight so, for us to get rid of Spencer would be a no-brainer considering he is good with the jury plus he is very capable of winning immunity challenges. Jeremiah on the other hand, is one of those athletes that threaten our chances as well, but there is one thing that we don’t have 100% certainty and that is who has a hidden immunity idol.”

Next, we heard Jefra telling Jeremiah that she wouldn’t be voting with him.

Mom’s advice was quickly forgotten.

Jeremiah had a confessional: “I think Jefra went in the water with her old alliance, everybody but me, Spencer and Tasha, and I just knew something was up. I didn’t put my trust in her. She shook my hand, she promised that but I guess they got the better of her.”

Here again, there is that feeling that we are encouraged to pull for the underdogs. Jefra said it was the best thing to do for her game, but Jeremiah’s words tell us that her old alliance took advantage of her.

The minority alliance knew it was pretty much over so it was time for revelations: Jeremiah said he was a fashion model.

Spencer in confessional: “So, Jeremiah realizes that there’s a real possibility that one of us is going home tonight o he decided to let the cat out of the bag and say that he’s a fashion model. It doesn’t surprise me that Jeremiah thinks him being a fashion model is this big deal, top secret thing that he can’t tell people, you know. That’s what you’d expect from the Beauty Tribe and so I decided to return the favor.” Spencer was about to reveal that he had an idol but Jeremiah guessed it first. His confessional continued: “I told Tasha and Jeremiah about my idol because now is the time to go for it, roll the dice and take a chance. If it works out, it’s another shot. You know; the game is not over.”

Some may think that Spencer’s game is over now that he wasted his idol but remember that the theme of never giving up in this game is directly linked to him. Also, consider that he called it just another shot even if it worked out. The important point of the confessional could very well be that he told us the game is not over.

Spencer then told them they should vote against Woo.
Tasha wondered why Woo and not Tony.
Spencer said it was because Woo was a bigger challenge threat.

We saw the tribe head out for Tribal Council while we heard the end of Spencer’s confessional: “I can play this thing for me; I can play it for Jeremiah, I can keep it but if I use it wrong, I could be kicking myself for the rest of my life.”

Now this is more damaging for his game. He did use it wrong so he may very well regret it for the rest of his life.

Tribal Council

While Tasha got her usual smiles, LJ didn’t look happy at all to see Tony.

Speaking first, Spencer said: “The game was up for grabs for a while (the camera showed us Jefra) but the three of us know where we stand which is on the outside.”
Jeremiah told Jeff that they talked to Jefra during the reward but “she decided to go back the other way.”
Jeff told Jefra that she sounded very impressionable.
Jefra replied: “I was still bitter about LJ and wondering where I stood in my own alliance.”
Trish cut in to say that the three women didn’t know about the plan to boot LJ.
(The jury took note of that)
Jefra added that she started weighing her options. She thought it would be better to risk being blindsided by her alliance than sitting in the finals against Tasha, Spencer and Jeremiah who would probably beat her.
Frustrated, Spencer explained that he wouldn’t go back to camp wondering where he stood after being left out of the loop, he would know that he was on the outside and on the bottom. He added that Tony’s broken promises (That pleased LJ) and will break more promises.
Tony asked for a promise that he actually broke.
Spencer looked at him incredulously, just like Sarah looked at him.
Tony argued: “I didn’t break promises. I did it for a reason.”

(Now that’s clear. What nice logic: If you have a reason then breaking a promise isn’t really breaking it. Guatemala Judd would be proud of this turn of phrase. It can’t be a Jersey thing, can it?)

Spencer made his position perfectly clear: “If Tony goes to the end with any combination of you guys, my vote goes to Tony because Tony has been steering this game and he will have it.”
Tasha added that Tony would have her vote also.
(Trish and Jefra looked distraught while Tony was shaking his head, not appreciating that turn of events.)
Jeff seized the opportunity, turning to Woo and saying that Tony has three votes from people that will likely be on the jury.
Woo said Tony would get to the end only with their help.
Spencer said he was rooting for Tony, but rooting for himself.
Trish told Spencer that they had a conversation where they called Tony out on all of his games.
Tasha said that they didn’t look really alarmed about it.
Trish vigorously said that they were alarmed so Tony was going to cut his crap.
(The Jury found that to be quite delusional)
Tony said that he heard Trish’s warning adding that there was a time for power moves: “Timing is everything” he said. (Of course, we had a shot of Kass just then!) Tony added that now it would be a wreckless move: “At this stage of the game we have to remain solid to move forward.”
Woo said they wondered who could have the idol between Spencer and Jeremiah.
Asked what he would say to save himself, Jeremiah said that Spencer was a big threat.
Spencer turned it around and said that everyone liked Jeremiah.
Tasha said that they wouldn’t want to upset Tony again.
Tony said they couldn’t get him anyway because he had his bag of tricks.
(Jefra wasn’t amused by that)
Spencer said he wasn’t expecting Tony to play anything out of his bags but that he didn’t know what was in it.

When Kass passed close to the jury, they had a look as if she emitted a foul odor.

We heard Spencer imitating Woo’s surfer dude accent when he voted for him. If Spencer is any indication, the other players don’t necessarily like Woo or respect him.

When Jeff asked for an immunity idol, Spencer got up and said: “You can steal as many clues as you want Woo, but I have the real thing.”
He took his time to read the reactions from the other side. It led to a stand-off between Spencer and Tony who took out what looked like a wrapped idol.
Spencer gave his idol to Jeff.
Morgan was so happy to see it that she silently applauded.

When Jeff said that votes against Spencer would not count, Tony interrupted him with a rhetorical question: “Jeff; do you see the inexperience in the young lad who was about to give his idol to Jeremy? (Jefra and the jury wondered who was Jeremy?) He thought I was going to use mine. This is a fake idol by the way.”
Spencer and Tasha didn’t look too impressed.
The first vote against Woo surprised him.
When the votes against Jeremiah turned up, we heard Spencer telling him he was sorry.

While Jeremiah walked away, we saw Tony trying his bag of tricks for another day.

Jeff sent them back to camp by saying: “Another Tribal Council with another big move. Sometimes they work (Tony on screen), sometimes they don’t (Spencer), but if you want to win this game (Kass, Woo and Jefra on screen), you have to keep making them.” (Spencer was on our screens right after Jeff said that, suggesting it was addressed to him.)

Jeremiah said that Spencer did what he had to do by saving himself.

The Story

This episode really pushed forward a storyline that had been brewing all season long: Tony versus Spencer in one of the biggest mind games we’ve ever seen. That should tell us that the one that eliminates the other should win the season because the other players are being reduced to the roles of extras. However, it doesn’t always work that way and the two could wind up killing each other.

Who will win the war? Up to now, Tony has won all the battles against the “inexperienced lad” and he has an idol with special powers as ultimate protection. Therefore, done deal: Tony wins ... but not so fast: You can never give up in this game; you have to continue making big moves if you want to win. Tony’s road to victory implies staying the course. Can he play the patient game?

The Characters

The Underdogs:

Tasha: She is the jury’s favorite and she would easily be the fans’ favorite if the editors had featured her more. Even her challenge victory could have been more thrilling if we had seen her make what had to be a great recovery. Instead, we saw her stability and determination which are admirable qualities but insufficient when a shake-up is needed. Her challenge wins and her likeability simply put a larger target on her back. If even Jefra sees that she couldn’t beat her in the end then Tasha’s only chance is to win out the immunity challenges, an impossible task.

Spencer: The question we face is whether or not he will regret all his life the way he used his idol. Like LJ’s and Tony’s, it was wasted and Tony was quick to laugh at his mistake but Jeremiah told us that he did what he had to do and Jeff still called it a big move. It’s as if we were meant to say that Spencer had no choice, that it wasn’t really a mistake.

From a game analysis point of view, I don’t see how Spencer can win this game and his edit could have been simply a way to recognize a good player that tried to play a good game but was countered at every step of the way. From an editing analysis, I still have to say that it could be his game because he still can make some big moves.

They Need Bad Things to Happen
If Tony and Spencer kill each other, one of them has to win

Trish: Once more, she was shown as the voice of reason, the one that pulled the alliance back together, but that wasn’t her main role in this episode. The role that really stood out was her total reliance on Tony. Even when he asked her to strategize, she was more interested in gathering fruits. The “Limes and Papayas” line painted her in a really poor light as did her remark to the jury that she wasn’t aware of the plot to blindside LJ. Then there’s Jefra’s line that the rest of the alliance believes in Tony like he was Jesus which certainly applies to Trish as much as it does to Woo. The jury reactions tell us that Trish can’t win a vote against Tony and the editing doesn’t suggest that she will be the one making the big move to eliminate him.

Woo: The audience likes Woo a lot more than the other players. They don’t seem to respect him and they accepted Spencer’s version of events regarding the idol clue. Like Trish, he is seen simply as one of Tony’s minions who is coasting through the game and not really deserving of the title of Sole Survivor. He’d have to impress the jury with a big move or maybe a series of wins in challenges even if that is rarely sufficient.

Kass: She is still the most likely to target Tony but she seems content to lay back and let the game flow in her direction. Why wouldn’t she? She is in the rare position that everyone would want to take her to the end because they would all beat her. She should have a great case to make against most of her potential opponents but the jury reactions tells us that she will be wasting her time if she even tries to convince them to vote for her. The way the editors keep using some of her comments out of context, remind us that she eliminated Sarah mostly because she was annoying which, according to Kass herself, means she’s screwed.

Jefra: I hope people noticed that Jefra mentioned more than once that she felt that she was on the bottom of the alliance? Suddenly, the one player that had never been in immediate danger, probably the only one in that situation all year long, was talking about being at the bottom and thus put herself directly in line with the season’s main theme! Can it be? I’d scoff at the idea if it wasn’t for the camera shot we had when Jeff said “If you want to win this game” at the end of Tribal Council. The camera suggested that Woo, Kass and Jefra could be our Final 3 and Jefra would certainly have a shot to win that vote. She’d probably have three votes in Morgan, LJ and Jeremiah.

This episode highlighted her dilemma and we even heard that she wants to get rid of Tony, She is the only member of her alliance to suggest such a coup d’état. What if, somehow, she is successful? Do you see what I mean by bad things are going to happen? Jefra: Sole survivor? Some viewers like unpredictability...

The Man in Charge

Tony: Once more, he completely dominated the game play and his feverish tempo was rewarded with his discovery of the idol. This season, which had been compared to Tocantins, now looks like a possible repeat of Redemption Island. If Tony is our winner then his edit could only be compared with Boston Rob’s, the guy who had more fun than anyone else playing this game. If he is allowed to get to the end then his alliance will have behaved the same way Ometepe did with its own leader. I still feel that Tony’s edit is more about making fun of him than showing the fun he is having though. We heard is weird logic where: “I didn’t break a promise. I had a reason”, his unnecessary lie about working construction at the last Tribal Council and his awkward promise to Kass, but his alliance is still supporting him because they think they can beat him.

The main opportunity for another big move comes from Spencer’s revelation that he would vote for Tony in the end. That could shake the alliance out of its deep sleep or agitate the Jersey cop into an even more frenzied pace.

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Tyrone Slothrop 6 desperate attention whore postings
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04-26-14, 06:16 PM (EST)
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69. "RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to Happen"
From a game analysis point of view, I don’t see how Spencer can win this game and his edit could have been simply a way to recognize a good player that tried to play a good game but was countered at every step of the way. From an editing analysis, I still have to say that it could be his game because he still can make some big moves.

Excellent analysis, Michel. This is exactly how I see it too, although I find myself leaning more towards the former forking of Spencer's Survivor path (and regretfully, because I prefer his more sober playing style to Tony's feverish perpetual motion). My view as to how the game has progressed so far leads me to agree that Tony or Spencer will be the winner, with the hesitating fact being that neither, IMO, has been truly given the manner of winning edit I would have anticipated for their respective storyline. I don't see how Tony could possibly blow his position, given the extraordinary power of his immunity idol—my guess is that Spencer and Tasha either combine with Tony to oust the more dispensable of Tony's crew (Jefra, Kass, perhaps even Woo) while he will still have the numbers; but that would fly in the face of logic, which says that Tony, having been assured of both Spencer and Tasha's vote, should be doing his darnedest to accommodate those promises by ensuring the pair are sent to the jury ASAP.

I am left holding on to the (ever slimmer) reed of Spencer performing a miracle here, though your calculation of the likelihood of this, from a game analysis point of view, feels exactly right. How would Mr. Tall and Lanky pull this off? He will have to be given considerable aide and abetment by Tony's own inability to sit still and paranoia ever aligning upon fresh targets. Perhaps a healthy immunity run will provide Spencer with the time and space he needs to bring about this alliance with his chief opponent's dark side...

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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04-26-14, 07:42 PM (EST)
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70. "RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to Happen"
Thank you, Tyrone,

If they are able to divert Tony's attention and get him to eliminate one of his own at F7 then we could be looking at needing to win only 2 immunities for the minority member that survives the F6 vote. Maybe it's not an impossible task.

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04-27-14, 00:33 AM (EST)
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71. "RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to Happen"
Maybe it's not an impossible task.
maybe...and with the current tag of Spencer planting a target in Tony's brain, it very well could happen. Playing Tony against himself is a brilliant strategy.
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05-02-14, 00:53 AM (EST)
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72. "RE: Episode10 - Bad Things Are Going to Happen"
And we see that Tony, indeed, decides to prune the hedges of his own alliance (a pretty tattered one now, methinks) rather than send Spencer to Ponderosa. I have to say that I beamed throughout tribal, what with Jefra not particularly doing anything worth a cheer the entire season, and young ol' Spence doing his damnedest to find a leg up, even to the degree of going home from the auction with naught but a white rock!

An entirely unnecessary move on Tony's part: use the special idol, if needed, at the next tribal, and you are down to five. Throw down the remaining idol (even better, the pair of 'em) at the next two, and you've made the final three. Keeping Spencer over Jefra was not a smart play, as he doubtless loses her vote whilst he would have, in all likelihood, earned the Bean Pole's. Thank the Survivor Gods that there are characters like Tony who don't accurately gauge the element of the social game involved in a win, and help bring their own potential demises along with them unto the final stages...

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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05-02-14, 07:02 PM (EST)
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73. "Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
LAST EDITED ON 05-04-14 AT 12:45 PM (EST)

This week’s introduction reminded us that Tony not only blindsided LJ, he also blindsided his whole alliance... (We heard a new exchange between Jefra and Tony where she said that Kass, Trish and she felt like they were on the bottom. Tony replied: “You didn’t want to be anybody’s goat so you’re a free goat now.”) ... And nobody felt more betrayed than Jefra. (She was almost crying during a confessional in which she said that it was time to maybe (!) start playing her own game.)

After betraying his alliance, Tony needed a back-up plan and he found one in the form of an idol with different powers. (We saw a repeat of his confessional where he talked about everybody’s eyes going “bing”!)

Jefra had a plan of her own; to align with the minority alliance and take out Tony.

Back at camp, Tony attempted to regain the trust of his alliance.

At Tribal Council, (we heard Spencer say once more that Woo stole the clue when he played “the real thing”) Spencer played his idol, Jefra got cold feet and the alliance of five stayed together, leaving Spencer and Tasha on the bottom once again.

Even if we heard Trish ask Tony if they could trust him, Jeff didn’t give her any credit for doing what had to be done in order to keep Jefra on board. The five stayed together due, apparently, to Tony’s promises and Jefra’s cold feet, not anything Trish did.

Listening again to Tony’s comments about everybody’s eyes lighting up reinforces the idea that Probst said something during Tribal Council, asking the player with the most votes if he had an idol to save himself. I think that’s what Tony was talking about, not seeing the idol itself because no one else saw it so no one else’s eyes went bing because of it. It’s the news that an idol could be played after the votes were read that made them go bing.

As a side note, we will be able to point to Jeremiah when we want to define what it is to be an extra. Except for the replay of old footage, Jeff didn’t even mention his name during the recap of his final episode.

Playing Hard but Not Always Well

Solarrion – Night 28

Jefra had the first confessional of the night: “Before Tribal, I thought it was a good idea to switch over and join Jeremiah, Tasha and Spencer because I’ve been wanting to turn on Tony, but I am in this alliance and I’m trying to look at the bigger picture and I felt like it would probably hurt me worse to go against Tasha or Spencer at the end of this game.”

Jefra has given so few confessionals during the season that letting her open the episode was a strong indication that she’d be leaving at the end of the night.

Back in camp, we heard Jefra asking Spencer if that was the riverbank idol. Spencer said it was, adding he found it on the same day that Woo stole the clue. Kass intervened, saying she knew he had it by the way he was acting. She added: “You are usually much meaner to me.”

Kass gave us a confessional: “I had a feeling that Spencer had the idol and like a typical 21 year old male, there was no way he was going to give that thing up. I mean, what is the most selfish beast on the planet? A college age male.”

Kass would spend most of the episode bashing Spencer which sets up a very uneasy situation if these two remain together all the way to the end. Such vitriol would have tainted Spencer’s image if we hadn’t heard the other women say that Spencer was nice in the same episode. I don’t recall any personal attacks from Spencer against Kass, just comments about her game, so it suggests he doesn’t deserve this treatment.

Woo told Spencer that Kass kind of called it, but Tony intervened to say that they were going to vote for Spencer but that Kass convinced them not to do it. Kass said Spencer was too calm and that she knew him because she had seen him before when he was about to be voted out. Spencer said that he was impressed.

Spencer had a confessional: “I used the idol and I used it wrong so now my idol is gone and my main alliance is gone and Tash and I are an army of two against this Goliath army of five, but the fact is that Tasha and I are still here. Tonight, we lost the battle; we have not lost the war.”

Once more, Spencer is connected to the theme that you should never give up.

The scene ended with Tony rejoicing that their plan worked perfectly.

Day 29

Tony and Woo arrived with tree mail.

Trish in confessional: “When they came back from tree mail, Woo was like “my back is really bothering me” and I was like are you OK? I almost wet my pants when I saw in his back, the wallets of money and I knew it was the auction. I knew I’d get something to eat and that’s all I wanted was something to eat outside of rice.”

The editors had a little fun at Trish’s expense by showing this knowing she would soon bid on a bowl of rice.

Tony also had a confessional: “Historically, in the game of Survivor, every time there’s an auction, there’s always some kind of advantage to a challenge. The second I hear Jeff say advan...(he raised his hand) $500. I want that advantage and I don’t want Spencer or Tash to have it.”

Spencer also had a confessional: “Right now, it’s me or Tasha going home so me and Tasha have to be aggressive in this auction because this is our life right now.”

The juxtaposition of these two confessionals set up the confrontation to win the advantage, but more than that, it suggests that these two are the only players with their head in the game. Even Tasha was shown jumping up and down at the thought of food.

The Auction

We saw that Tony knew Jeff’s habits when he correctly guessed that the second item would remain covered. Spencer looked disappointed when Tasha bid $80 in an attempt to get that item.
Trish encouraged Tony to start bidding because he was starving but he declined. Like Spencer, Tony salivated at the sight of the $20 steak sandwich that went to Kass. He gave us a confessional: “My stomach is starting to tie up in knots. I didn’t know if I could hold out on the temptation. I felt shaky, I felt light-headed, but I just had to hold off. I wasn’t walking out of there without an advantage.”

Spencer also had a confessional when Woo got what Jeff described as the biggest bargain ever: “Because there are so few people actually vying for the food, this auction was a buyer’s market. Great deals, all of this food for so little money and I can’t even watch.”

Many posters wrote that we are seeing one of the best seasons ever but this auction really showed why I feel that it’s far from the great ones we used to have. We had fun at Trish’s expense, seeing her get the rice she said she didn’t want, but the only really funny moment came when we had that gay porn parody featuring Woo and Jiffy. The sultry saxophone music suggested that Woo really enjoyed putting that big, tender piece of meat in his mouth.

These players know the game so well that they are all focusing strictly on strategy, making all the rest appear superfluous and therefore boring. Trish got the crappy item but that joke fell flat because, like she said, she still had plenty of money left.

With no one engaging in bidding wars, Jeff cut to the chase and told them about the advantage in the game. When Tony reacted almost as quickly as he had told us he would, Jeff changed the rules, saying everyone could bid the maximum and they would have to draw rocks to win it.

While Tony and Spencer were ready to bid $500 for a shot at the advantage, Tasha declined. Jeff looked disappointed. (Money must be short at CBS if Jeff wanted 3 people to fork out all their cash for 1 item) Forced to draw rocks, Spencer wound up with the wrong one. Tony, who couldn’t even look, won the advantage.

When Jeff closed the auction, the camera turned to Tasha who was left out with nothing. She gave us a confessional: “I was hoping that Jeff would offer one more item and that would be a clue to the hidden immunity idol but, unfortunately, I left with nothing. So, in order for me to stay here, I have to win immunity.”

This confessional softened the hit on Tasha’s image when we heard her say that she wasn’t ready to bid everything in order to draw rocks. Our first impression was that Tasha wasn’t as focused on the game as the two guys but at least we heard her excuse.

Day 29

Back in camp, Tony commented that his advantage was like a catch-22: He wouldn’t have the same energy level as Woo. Then he turned the blade in the wound by telling Spencer that he was starving and had no advantage. Spencer agreed that he got screwed but added: “We knew what we signed up for.”

Spencer in confessional: “I needed an advantage in the game because, right now, my head is at the top of the list on the chopping block. It was devastating. I draw the rock, I opened my hand, and the rock is white. I just have a white rock. I have a new title: I am the greatest loser at the auction in Survivor history.”

Sorry Spencer but I think Candice still holds that title. Her money was taken away and she was sent to Exile Island with no idols to find during the Cook Islands auction.

Kass had a confessional: “I had no guilt that Tony was the martyr for the team. I think I’ve done enough so I felt glad. Here I am, eating a giant meal and I got to see Spencer have the true dejected look that I have come to know and love and expect from him when he knows he’s on the block.”

Kass thinks she’s done enough? In an episode where her alliance was about to turn on itself, this has to be the worst possible confessional to have make it on air. Tony would soon tell us what he thought of those that let him be the martyr. It’s also Kass’ second confessional where she took a shot at Spencer.

Tony gave us his thoughts: “There are five people in my alliance. All of them were eating. I sacrificed all that food? I am starving. So, I felt kind of disgusted, you know. Why put all that weight on my shoulders?” He had to ask twice for someone to help him with the fire and the water. His confessional continued: “The girls don’t do anything. You guys wanted to eat, not starve? This is what I sacrificed not eating for, right here. So, as my alliance is talking about how good they feel, that they ate this and they ate that, I just told them that I’m gonna be right back. I’m just going for a walk up the beach. I opened up my tube ... and lo and behold, it’s not an advantage in the next immunity challenge, it’s a clue to a hidden immunity idol.” We joined him on his search. “As it stands right now, I have a special power idol and now I have the possibility of finding another idol that I could just do whatever I want with it. If I can find it, I don’t have to worry about nothing. Once I have this bad boy; I’m in power.”

While Tony was walking up and down the beach, the women were enjoying the ocean. At least Tasha was making good use of the time. She gave us a confessional: “If the group of five sticks together, the people on the chopping block are Spencer and myself. So, I want Tony to know that there is a possibility that we could form an all-girl alliance and take him out. I want Tony to see me talking to them. Tony is a loose cannon; all you have to do is light a little fire and he basically will spark.”

Tony brought firewood to Spencer who had been tending the fire.

(Tasha’s confessional about lighting a little fire under Tony was placed just before this scene, giving it symbolic value)

Tony commented that the women had been in the water for a long time. He told Spencer that Tasha had her own plan; she was working on the girls. After saying that Tasha was quite a social player, Spencer asked if Tony was worried that the girl alliance could work. Tony said he didn’t think it would so Spencer told him that they weren’t lying when they said Jefra was ready to vote him out. Tony seemed surprised by that.

Spencer explained his tactic to us: “I’m trying to plant seeds that will fester and make this alliance split. It might mean creating some fake paranoia about an all-girls’ alliance even if it’s not happening at all. It’s very powerful in this game right now. If I can make Tony paranoid, that’s gold because Tony is crazy. Tony is willing to play hard but not always well and that is great in this game because, if I can get someone in power to make mistakes and go ballistic then I’m still here and anyone can be going home at that point.”

This confessional is really the whole story of the episode. Nothing else really mattered. Tony is playing hard but not really playing well. Spencer had lost the previous battles but he skated circles around him this time. Will it be enough to win the war? I’ll have more on that later.

Tony (solo): “When Spencer told me that the girls could be in cahoots with each other and that they want to oust the guys, I was thinking that: Hold up. Don’t trust Spencer just yet because he is desperate but you got to look into it. Then I said to myself that it makes so much sense: They are going to say that the guys are threats. Let’s just try to get rid of them one by one and they could do it because right now we have four girls and three guys. All the tell-tale signs are there that they need to blindside me. They won’t want me to go to the end, but I’m not going anywhere. I will take matters in my own hands like I usually do.”

I can just imagine what LJ thought when he heard this sitting at home. Something like: So Tony, why do you think that you are missing a guy in your alliance? We thought that Spencer’s words at the last Tribal Council would turn Tony’s alliance against him but it seemed to have worked much better on Tony himself. He always saw himself as a threat, that’s why he wanted to hide his occupation, but now that Spencer told the others that he is big threat to get votes, he panicked.

Solarrion – Day 30

While Spencer was taking a walk on the beach, the women, still bathing in the ocean, talked about how nice he was. Well, most of the women.

Kass in confessional: “I’m feeling good about our five so I kicked back and relaxed and it’s nice to know we are going to have a non-adversarial day because no matter who wins immunity, we can get rid of Tasha or Spence. I mean, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sometimes that light is an oncoming train. This confessional’s only purpose was to tell us that Kass, despite her earlier claims, couldn’t read Spence after all. She relaxed while he had already planted the necessary seeds.

Back near the shelter, Tony and Woo noticed that the crab they had caught was dead. That led to another argument between Tony and the girls about the cooking chores. Tony didn’t leave us wondering what he was thinking when he whispered to himself: “Get your ##### up here and cook it then.” He told Woo that it was all unreal.

Tony in confessional: “After finding all that out from Spencer, I said to myself: It’s four girls and three guys. They might be up to something. They might want to make a power move. So I said I’m going to get that idol right now. That’s priority number one.” (The big white tree he found looked a lot like last week’s rocket ship tree. How convenient!) It didn’t take him long to find the idol yet we heard him say: “I’ve been looking for this for so long now.” In confessional, he added: “That’s the third idol that I found in this game. Right now, I have two idols in my possession. One special one and one idol I can just play around with. I can use it for me, I can give it to someone to blindside somebody else. I feel like I am on top of the world, on top of this game.” Tony proceeded to show his idol to everyone in his alliance, first to Kass, telling her it wasn’t the special one, but the one that came from the advantage. He went on: “I decided to show my alliance my idol. I showed each individual one and said listen: I have the idol, we are protected. What I really wanted to tell them is that I am protected so don’t even think of voting for me. It’s still four girls and I made a conscious effort to scare them a little bit just in case they are thinking or plotting to vote against me; they know I have an idol.”

Jefra looked dejected when he showed her the idol and said how happy it made him.

The Immunity Challenge

Tony and Woo were the first to get all five bags but Tasha was the first to get all the balls out. Tasha landed her second ball before anyone else even got to the maze. Jeff noted that Tony went crazy and knocked his balls all over the place. Jeff added: “It is subtle, it takes touch, finesse.” Jeff could have added: “Just like the game” but that would have really told us that Tony cannot win.

When Tasha dropped a ball, she opened the door and Woo tied the score with three balls. It looked like it was very close but Tasha won immunity for the third time.

Before we got back to camp, we saw that a shark was on the prowl and that many little fishes were exposed. The imagery was clear: Tony was the shark. The women who had spent all that time in the ocean were his prey. Like the challenge revealed, there are more subtle players than Tony and there are more subtle predators than a shark. Earlier in the episode we saw such a subtle predator in the form of the sea anemone that had already caught its fish. That cute little fish was poor Jefra...caught in Spencer’s tentacles.

Tasha in confessional: “For the third time in a row, Tasha has immunity.” Her smile was as wide as could be. “To have immunity means everything at this point in the game. Every day, people are reconsidering alliances, breaking alliances (We saw Kass on screen just then) so the plan up to Tribal Council is to continue to talk to the girls...” (She went into action in the shelter, saying that Tony could have promised everyone, including her, a place in his final three) “...and have Tony be suspicious of the girls. If he is freaking out that they will flip, you know that’s...either way, it works for me and possibly for Spencer as well.”

Tasha and Spencer went out to get water so Kass used the time to talk to Woo. He said he wasn’t concerned; that the challenges had just gone Tasha’s way. Trish and Tony joined them and they agreed it had to be Spence.

Tony in confessional: “Tonight, at Tribal Council, if Tasha hadn’t won that necklace, she was going home. So now we have to resort to plan B which is Spencer.” Once more, the women went for a soak in the ocean. Tony went on: “This is the worst case scenario: Tasha is still here. It’s still four girls. With Spencer gone, it’s only two guys. It’s very easy to see that it’s four against two. They could pick us off one by one. So, you know what? I have to turn on one of the females in my alliance and the only one I can turn on is Jefra right now. She was willing to turn on me; she was willing to turn on all of us so it’s once again time to change the game.”

When Tony mentioned that he had to turn on one female, the camera was squarely on Kass and it only went to Jefra when Tony mentioned her by name. The suggestion is that Tony may have aimed at the wrong target, that it would have been better to go for Kass immediately.

Tony surprised Woo with his plan but the martial artist was quick to realize that the girl/guy ratio wasn’t favorable.

Woo had a confessional: “Tony is a brilliant player. You know, nine times out of ten, we are clicking on the same level. We looked at each other and we knew exactly what the game plan was: We can’t get rid of Spencer.”

Tony had more to tell us: “Here’s the problem: I won’t be able to tell Trish or Kass that I am planning that so we obviously are going to need Spencer and Tasha in this.”

Tony went to Spencer with his plan, telling him that Trish and Kass had to remain in the dark so that he would be the one to inform Tasha and get her on board.
Spencer in confessional: “The things I’ve said to Tony have had an effect and this paranoia about an all-girl alliance is perfect.” He told Tony that the key was convincing Tash.” To us, he added: “Tash is my alliance, she’s my friend; I know she is willing to do something that will keep me in the game.”

Spencer told Tasha about the Survivor Miracle part 2 and Tasha agreed to vote against Jefra.

If Tasha doesn’t win this season, the question will be asked: Could she have gone to the women and formed that alliance after all now that she had the information about Tony? Trish is so tight with Tony that you can’t blame Tasha for not risking it. Trish would have just needed to tell Tony that she knew about his plan and that would have burned Spencer and Tasha.

Spencer’s confessional continued: “To feel just about hopeless and then to be given a golden ticket to new life in the game is incredible. Things might be looking up right now but I still don’t trust Tony all that much and, if this plan fails, I am out of the game so this new idol with potentially more powerful powers could really help me out.”

However, Tony noticed that Spencer wasn’t in camp and that made him suspicious. Tony’s confessional gave us a modicum of suspense for the rest of the evening: “He’s actually searching for the idol. That is scary, that is alarming that Spencer would actually be doing that when I was trying to come up with a plan to save him. So, is voting off Jefra a good idea? Is it good for my alliance? Is it good for my game or is it better to get rid of a threat like Spencer? Jefra really is not a threat and Spencer is lethal out here. You see what he’s done. I don’t know what to do at this point. I would say that I am driving myself crazy but I don’t think it’s me driving myself crazy, I think it’s the game that is driving me crazy.”

Just before heading out to Tribal Council, Tony turned to Woo and said: “There’s going to be chaos tonight, my friend.”

Tribal Council

With his wink to Tasha, we were told that Jeremiah will also be voting for her if he gets the chance.

Jeff first addressed Spencer about his predicament.
Spencer agreed he was in trouble

Tony told Jeff that the camp was chaotic which surprised Jefra. He surprised her even more when he said that Spencer informed him that his alliance, Jefra in particular, wanted to blindside him. Tony decided to open his bag of tricks early and he took out his idol.
Jefra said she was upset about LJ but that it was natural.
Kass explained that Jefra had to get over the anger of being left out.
Tony said that you can’t advertise a blindside.
(LJ and Sarah weren’t impressed at all with that explanation).
Jeff asked Tony if he was surprised that his group was sticking together despite its divisions.
Tony said it was the best thing they could do.
Spencer said that chaos was great. Chaos could only help him.
Kass told Jeff that a mistake could be made tonight.
Jefra was nodding in agreement and she said that stirring trouble is what people do when they are on the bottom. (People with game do it, but Jefra? No.)
Jeff turned once more to Spencer and said: “If it is you tonight, no one is going to accuse you of not making big moves.” (Aren’t the editors nice?! Using Jeff’s words to bolster the case for Spencer who may have stirred things a bit but had really done little on his own up to that point)
Spencer told Jeff that he played well and hard and he could go home happy with that. He added: “At the same time, windows of opportunity come up and close in this game and some could be closing right now. If you pick me off and then pick off Tasha, you may get 4th or 5th place, you made a mistake tonight by not making a move. The most common reason people lose this game is not making the move that they should have made when they could have because they got comfortable.” (The camera showed us Kass then, the one that thought she had done enough and was simply relaxing now)

It was time to vote and, when Jeff returned with the urn, Tony kept his ordinary idol.

When Jeff revealed the 3rd vote against Jefra, the camera showed us the change in expression on the faces of Trish, Jefra and Kass. We then saw Tony’s “I ate the canary” expression.
Kass and Trish exchanged looks when Jefra stood to take her torch. Spencer smiled and the jury looked nicely surprised.

Trish looked to be close to tears when Jeff said this proved that it was an in-di-vi-dual game.

The Story

After hearing Spencer’s confessional, there’s not much to add about the story at this stage. It’s a mind game between Tony and Spencer and now that “the inexperienced kid” figured out he had to work on Tony instead of against him, he won a key battle.

Like the maze, this game is all about finesse and subtlety. While we’ve seen many snakes and reptiles during the season, we’ve only seen the images of two ocean predators: The shark and the sea anemone. Since the preys spend so much of their time in the water, I think these sea predators are more symbolic than the random reptiles. Tony is the shark, Spencer the sea anemone. While the shark is the most dangerous ocean predator, it has no subtlety, but the sea anemone looks so nice...

Besides the two predators, we only have Tasha still focusing on the game. What can we say about the others?

The Characters

They Were Imitating Morgan:

Kass: She thought she had done enough but she just had a rude awakening. The problem is that she is now faced with a battle on two fronts and while it looks very probable that she will face the jury, she can only do so by making more enemies. Her continual belly-aching against Spencer tells us that the two could share the final few, uncomfortable days together and that they will attack each other with every answer they give to the jurors. It could get ugly.

Woo: He thinks he is on the same level as Tony nine times out of ten. Maybe he should worry about that 10th time. Woo did fairly well in this episode but he was associated with the players who were so content after their big meal which didn’t make him look so good. What is worse for him is that we continue to hear Spencer’s version about what happened with the idol clue on the river bank. Since we don’t hear Woo’s version, the viewers have to think that he really did steal that clue.

Trish: I expect that this episode showed everyone her limitations in the season’s story. She isn’t winning this season. The good job she had done to realign her group was completely ignored in the recap and in the opening scene. We saw that the joke was on her during the auction and she really dropped the ball when it came to keeping Tony in line. After all his promises, he betrayed her a second time so she would look extremely weak in front of the jury if she forgives him again. What else can she do besides forgiving him though? Moving against Tony now gives the game to either Spencer or Tasha.

Outplaying them All:

Tasha: Her plan to stick with the girls to exacerbate Tony’s paranoia worked perfectly, but the subtle work was accomplished by Spencer. The smiles from the jury tell us that Tasha is a great social player and she is a very smart woman, but her game relies mostly on her challenge skills. What is extraordinary, considering she was on the Brains Tribe, is that most of her wins came from physical challenges, not mental ones.

Despite all she has done already, (yes that was a jab at Kass) it still looks like Tasha will need to win some key challenges to make it to the end because no one would risk facing her. Tasha is easily a fan favorite right now despite the fact that she hasn’t been as present on our screens as the other two players. That lack of presence makes sense only if she isn’t our winner. We can't foeget either that she was seen jumping up and down, anticipating to win food at the auction.

Outwitting Himself:

Tony: The former member of the Brawn tribe was so convinced he needed an advantage in the immunity challenge that he was willing to risk all of his money. That in itself is quite extraordinary. You’d think that such a strong guy wouldn’t worry about beating a skinny kid and a woman but there it is.

Tony is trying to outwit everyone but he should have figured that he didn’t need to win that challenge. No matter what happened, one member of the minority alliance was going to be exposed. He should have also realized that he didn’t need to vote against Spencer to break up the girls’ alliance, he just had to ascertain that Tasha was voting against Jefra.

Like Spencer said, Tony is playing very hard, he has done so from day 1, but not always well. His moves to eliminate Cliff and LJ were executed too early and now his decision to change the game by eliminating Jefra will certainly cause his alliance to crumble. He went into that vote thinking he could go back to Trish and Kass afterwards, but that trick won’t work the second time.

Playing the Game:

Spencer: With the effectives down to three Brawns and three Brains, we see that the former Luzon members have already gone through one complete tribe. It seems that it’s one down, one more to go. Spencer told us that they would be able to do it right after they eliminated J’Tia, which seems far away now. Does anybody still doubt that we will have 3 members of the Brains tribe at the end? Well, it’s still not a sure thing, but it’s looking very good that we will see Spencer going through them all.

With the help of a precarious position in the game, the editors gave us plenty of doubts regarding Spencer’s chances to make it to the end but all the pieces seem to be falling in place right now. We still have to be open to the other possibility and Tony doesn’t need to be that smart to make it far with so many idols in his pockets but we have been guided here by the season’s theme and they’ve been telling us that Spencer would be the Sole Survivor since the end of the premiere.

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Tyrone Slothrop 6 desperate attention whore postings
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05-03-14, 03:13 PM (EST)
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74. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Superb as always, Michel. It's not particularly illuminating to say so, but I find I'm quite tightly aligned to your own interpretation of how events have unfolded and seem likely to do so in the future (which might be symptomatic of having become accustomed, through seasons of lurkerdom, to ingesting the Michelian POV of Survivor gameplay!)

What I have such a hard time reconciling is how Tony, who admits to endlessly running things through his mind (or, at least, noting them in glimpses as they proceed past at near-light speed), could not have figured out that his scheming has become near moot with the possession of the Super Idol: if he is suspicious of his alliance, he can hold off having to freak out and plan around it by simply using that idol to negate the threat at that particular Tribal Council. He then still has a chance to win immunity from that point forward, craft new alliances, and use the threat of playing the other idol to steer votes in another direction. Paranoid though be, he yet must surely sense that Woo and Trish are as reliable as alliance partners can be in this game, while Kass and Jefra have evinced nothing but comfort at an orderly procession to the planned Final Five. Thus, the only intelligent gameplay was to eliminate Spencer and Tasha, the two true immunity threats apart from his right-hand surfer dude, Woo, and then wield his two idols to force his way into the final three (or, with a touch more bullish finesse, the final two that some internet voices have alluded to).

Keeping Spencer and Tasha around - and particularly the latter, with her obvious rapport with near every member of the jury - speaks to a blindness in Tony's whirlwind-engirt, spinning-top of a mind. Spencer has accurately gauged his opponent as playing hard, but not always playing well; and keeping the two brains when at least one should be comfortably ensconced in Ponderosa is such a glaring miscalculation, particularly when set against the themes marbling this juicy season, that it's difficult to imagine it could be rewarded by Tony becoming the Sole Survivor.

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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05-03-14, 04:53 PM (EST)
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75. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Thank you, Tyrone,

As for Tony, I think he is either playing for the camera or he is really concerned about the case he will present to the jury.

Since he is completely safe, he could be simply acting in order to be a memorable character; stirring things up simply for fun. But consider his jury case: If Trish had formed a female alliance and he would have had to use his idol to save himself, he'd still look like a player that had been outwitted. That is a big concern for someone who sees himself as the conductor.

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Tyrone Slothrop 6 desperate attention whore postings
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05-03-14, 06:49 PM (EST)
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76. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
It could be. Still, it seems a perilous move to me, in that Spencer averred, and Tasha confirmed, that Tony was the only one they considered within the dominant grouping as having steered their path, and going all-out in playing the game (a claim further strengthened by his commitment to winning the advantage at the auction, when he could easily have feasted in full confidence of numbers). Jefra has done nothing; Trish has not only done everything he asked, but immediately forgiven him his trespass against the alliance with LJ; whilst Woo, while a likable character, has only ever followed Tony's lead. Even Kass, the sole unpredictable, semi-independent member of the alliance, has clearly garnered appreciable ill-will from the jury, to the degree that anybody taking her could quite confident of success. IOW, Spencer and Tasha present the only legitimate threats to Tony's ultimate success, and so while he could be very well playing simply to create an enduring Tony Survivor mythos, because he's invulnerable, I think it is both unnecessary (since using the idol, and his multiple possessions of such, is only proof of his hard playing, as opposed to being outwitted) and dangerous (because the two Brains are the only legitimate threats to his winning).

All IMO, of course! I do think he is having fun, so perhaps your first suggestion is the closest to the truth. I just can't help but suppose (expect?) the million dollar endpoint to subsume even the joy of creating memorable Survivor moments...

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Murphy3126 157 desperate attention whore postings
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05-03-14, 07:54 PM (EST)
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77. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Tony has been playing a very good game IMHO. He’s been doing his job: going on stakeouts & picking up vital info; & Tony going on patrol to deter & prevent collusion against him by intimidating just by presence. Spencer fanned the flames, but Tony heard 1st hand that Jeffra wanted him out & she was a threat to ally against Tony at F5 if the alliance held up. Both LJ & Jeffra acknowledged they were going to try to take out Tony. Jeffra cited several F3’s, none of which included Tony. Tony comes off more like Russell, but blindside of LJ reminds me of Boston Rob’s taking out Grant in S22.

Everyone should hold out & bid for the advantage; those that don’t really aren’t playing the game hard. Tony’s mistake was saying he was making a sacrifice for the team. When you relax & think you’re safe, that’s when you’re gone.

This week should be all about strategy. Tony’s 2 idols shouldn’t be a factor as they get him to F4, same as if his alliance holds up. If Tony lies & says super idol allows him to void all votes & he casts deciding ballot, that may force all to play his game (that would be a great twist to the game, a special HII that can only be used to void other II’s, including the IC necklace). If Tony’s consistent, Tony tries to take out Kass. The IC necklace won’t be relevant unless Trish or Woo win. Then Tony can protect the remaining brawn with an HII, regain favor with remaining brawn, & have the SHII for himself. Result: 3 brawn:2 brains surviving the TC.

Previews have Kass & Woo teaming up with Spencer. Kass may be able to sell a useless vote to get Tony to play the HII, splitting votes to take out Trish, with the real blindside against Woo. Can Tony identify the real play? Will Kass risk everything to ensure her place at F3? Is the promo the ruse & we have a predictable TC with Spencer going home?

I’d love to see a final with Tony & Spencer. I think Tony would like to go against Spencer at FTC. I fear both may be gone.

I do agree Tasha’s story is not that of a winner. She wanted to meet & talk outside of camp before Garrett went home but got no meeting, & again got “stood up” at a planned meeting, but when she had the chance to push a women’s alliance of 4, acknowledging that she’d be on the bottom & would have to rely on challenge wins to get further, she really didn’t push the issue. She could have just gotten the 3 to nod their heads if interested, then verbally agreed. If done, Tony’s in the minority & can’t stop it. Then Tasha bid’s on food rather than hold out? Than to not bid, hoping there’s a 2nd advantage she bid on & win? Has there ever been 2?

Trish has always been for the good of the group & for the moment. She could be a winner against Kass.

I don’t see this as a bitter jury, except against Kass. If Kass succeeds in a bold move & gets to the end with Trish and/or Woo (with Spencer/Tahsa gone this week), her strategy worked & she should have earned a few votes … that I doubt she’ll get.

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glennyfromtheblock 28 desperate attention whore postings
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05-04-14, 03:14 AM (EST)
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78. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Interested that no one really had any thoughts in response to my points on my season long summary of the case for a Trish win in the edit. I've had her and Morgan as my Top 2 winner picks unwaveringly so since E01 (although the latter's was more based on the random manipulation that she was getting more than anything).

Trish has had a solid premiere, a fantastic switch episode and an even stronger merge. She's constantly being presented as not just a separate entity to Tony (which is rare considering how easy it would be to edit her as the Debbie to his Coach) but as the only player to be able to control/protect herself from him. She's been heavily shielded from more negative things (like the challenge throwing and, really, most of the Lindsay stuff) and been given very solid confessionals to explain her situation in the cases where things haven't gone her way. I honestly don't see how any single other person out there can win now based on the edit BUT Trish.

The only things really working against her is the cougar thing with LJ and the fact that she's been out of the loop on two votes, but I honestly don't think either of these are presented as killing her chances as with both they've taken great care to provide her point of view. Added to that that all the major moves she and Tony made as a team (namely securely LJ & Jefra at the switch, booting Cliff, flipping Kass at the merge and bringing Jefra back into the fold last week), TRISH has been given all the credit editing wise, not Tony. I just can't imagine a scenario in Survivor where he is the one that wins but is edited out of those actual game winning moves. I really think the fact that Trish is such a cartoon character of a human being is obscuring people's ability to see how much of a clearly defined winners edit she's had all season. From the switch onwards, it's a top notch edit with few flaws.

I'd really like to know what major disagreements people had with my previous post because I wonder what I'm seeing that no one else is...

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Murphy3126 157 desperate attention whore postings
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05-04-14, 12:30 PM (EST)
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79. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
LAST EDITED ON 05-04-14 AT 12:51 PM (EST)

LAST EDITED ON 05-04-14 AT 12:50 PM (EST)

Every time I think Trish is getting a good edit, something is shown that makes her look bad. I’m OK with Trish going for food with Woo, rather than strategy meeting with Tony. Jeffra mentioned a F3 with LJ, Jeffra & Trish. I can see Trish not being willing to commit to an alliance with Tony, especially in a useless strategy session when it was just a choice between Spencer & Jeremiah. This could also foreshadow Tony not getting his way to FTC. Trish being so unaware of what Tony & Spencer were doing by not bidding at the auction made her look very bad, but it could just be editor’s emphasizing what Tony, Spencer & Tasha were doing. She seems to be very well liked by the jury, a “sweetheart”. She could be a winner against Kass or Woo.

I love reading Michael’s story & character analysis, but edit’s are subject to interpretation, & hindsight can reveal a different perspective & result. Preview’s show Tony’s short-sighted perceived invincibility resulting in him becoming a bully & no one likes a bully. Jeffra’s interview with Parvaratti reveals Jeffra’s surprise that Woo is shown falling from tree, but none of Tony climbing trees for coconuts & fronds for the shelter are shown. If Tony were the winner, they would be. So, I’m becoming a believer in Michael’s belief Spencer is the winner, or at least that Tony goes soon after his HII’s are gone.

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05-04-14, 12:33 PM (EST)
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80. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
LAST EDITED ON 05-04-14 AT 12:40 PM (EST)

I'm sorry Glenny but I simply cannot see Trish as our winner. Like you, I thought she had a terrific merge episode and considered her for a moment, then the next episode came along and this was Jeff's recap:

Jeff reminded us that Aparri and Solana had finally merged and a new idol with different powers was put in play.
(Tony’s confessional about the idol’s special powers was repeated)
The real struggle for power was between two alliances and Sarah was playing both sides.
(Again, it was Tony’s confessional that was chosen to explain the two alliances)
We then heard Sarah saying she wanted Tony out and guaranteeing her alliance that he didn’t have an idol.
Kass had other plans
(We heard Kass asking in confessional “who made her queen?)
At Tribal Council, Sarah could only watch as her game unraveled ... Her control turned into chaos.
(We see Tony and LJ playing their idols)
She went from the queen to the first member of the jury.

Note that Jeff didn't even mention Trish's key role in that vote. In my opinion, that simply killed her chances. Then the latest episode showed that she wasn't even focusing on the game. The "Lemon and papayas" comment in the previous episode should have been enough to tell us that she wasn't in game mode but, just before the auction, we heard her confess that she was only craving food. The editors used that to contrast Tony and Spencer's determination in winning an advantage in the game.

Her story had potential when it was about keeping Tony under control but even that has been dropped. Last week, she worked hard to get Jefra and Tony back together again but this week's recap once more ignored her influence. If Trish is the winner, I think that Jeff would have underlined her social skills instead of Jefra's cold feet. Even worse, her laziness was used to show how she was exacerbating Tony's paranoia about an all-girls' alliance.

Her story has devolved into one where comfort is more important than everything else. If she were to win that would mean the editors were telling us that playing the game is useless, that players should just rest and eat. What kind of message would that be?

In other words, Trish's game is much better than what we are being told. That is the opposite of what we have observed from Survivor's editors.

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05-05-14, 11:03 PM (EST)
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81. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Michel - I 100% agree with you regarding the recaps continual ignoring of Trish being a red flag for her winning chances. Sadly, in a modern day Survivor world, that's not the death knell that it used to be, at least not if you happen to be a Survivor with a vagina. I mean, look at Sophie and Denise. I had Sophie as my clear winner pick from the S23 premiere but waivered halfway through the season when they kept ignoring her and relegating all her good confessionals to The Insider. But then they went and managed to do a seasons worth Winner Edit basically in the finale. Denise was basically ignored after the merge, reduced to Malcolm's +1 and a one note antagonist of Abi Maria. It's an unfortunate curve to have to grade female winners on, but there is a clear precedent (I'll allow chalking Natalie from Samoa up to an abnormality, but Danni is another clear example).

I guess the key is how you interpret the intention of the scenes. I didn't get the impression that Trish was meant to be portrayed negatively for wanting to get Papaya's instead of more OTT strategy sessions. They've also shown a lot of care in backing up the times she's been out of the loop with clear, calm confessionals explaining why it's not detrimental to her game. The fact is, it's impossible to make a sexy and exciting story out of a Trish win, in the same way it was with Sophie. But there is a lot of unnecessary care and attention given to her in moments where there is no need for it if she wasn't our winner. Even the Lindsay fight, which should have been a winning chances killer, was actually pretty neutered - reading all the interviews you get the feeling a lot of things were left on the cutting room floor, which is very strange considering how major that storyline should have been. And the fact that, when push came to shove and Lindsay quit, Tony got all the negative confessionals about it, but great pains were taken to absolve Trish of any blame, and to show her maturely talking about it and being sympathetic.

The thing that's hard to gauge with Trish is that there is no way to hide in the edit the essential comedy that is Trish just been Trish - like the laugh, or the Cougar Town crossover, or the 'FOOOOOOOOOOOOD' bit. But the fact that so much care is being taken to not just reduce her to a one note stereotype when, lets face it, was probably the reason she was cast in the first place, is the kind of thing they would only do for a winner. The choices made with her portrayal aren't the ones you would make for optimal entertaining TV, so the only other possible reason would be if she wins. Every key move her alliance has made this season has been clearly shown to be directly result of HER gameplay, not Tony. And we're seeing a lot of her potential Jury connections and associated goodwill, which is very good for her Finals chance.

Spencer is honestly the only other person I could see winning at this point, but he's always felt much more like Philippines era Malcolm than a winner to me, right from episode one. I just don't think we'd see a winner repeatedly fail so much and be so clueless otherwise, dramatic story arc or not. And if he were to win, I don't see why they would deliberately exclude things like his major F3 alliance with Sarah and Jeremy. He's clearly the hero of our season, but he's not our winner (unless the editors hate which, lets face it, they clearly don't).

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05-05-14, 11:07 PM (EST)
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82. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
Who is Jeremy? ;)
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05-06-14, 01:07 PM (EST)
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83. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
LAST EDITED ON 05-06-14 AT 06:11 PM (EST)

I'll chime in on the Sophie comparison, since I've always found that editing to be one of the most interesting ones ever.

The thing with Sophie's edit was that they used her in a sort of, "Sophie is always right" theme. Sophie really led the charge on the Brandon storyline, so his overall story centered around his emotional issues and not his strength. In terms of strategy, they used Sophie to discredit all of Albert's ideas and basically explain why he doesn't win in the end. Sophie was constant at the forefront of the, "Stop getting cute, Albert" mantra of the strategy discussion. She wasn't the center point of all of the strategy discussion (like Coach with Cochran) but she always kind of steered the direction. I recall during the Cochran boot episode, they decided to open it with Sophie criticizing Cochran's personality while she chopped coconuts. They were basically using her to tell the audience, maybe you shouldn't actually be rooting for him anymore.

But yeah, a good deal of her winner's edit happened in the finale, kick-started by Ozzy. Her edit reminds me a little of Bob's, except with a little more strategy sprinkled in. I think, in general, the key to sniffing out a hidden winner is to look for that, "_____ is always right" subtext. They're willing to overshadow the winner if there are big characters around but they still always let the winner be the smart one. Vecepia was the same way, with her "No more drama" mantra and stuff.

I don't necessarily see Trish as being a hidden winner in the vein of Sophie or Denise because they just haven't sprinkled in enough strategy stuff for Trish lately. They definitely were earlier this season (the Cliff boot, the Sarah boot), but things have really dried up this season. Trish's story with Jefra lately was all about sticking to Tony. Unlike a Sophie edit with Albert, there isn't a Trish confessional making fun of how stupid Tony's moves actually would be. And Tony is more of an Albert than a Coach, so his plans need to be smacked down by the winner.

And even more puzzling, they haven't really highlighted how popular Trish actually is with her fellow castaways. Trish's would be a social game victory (like, say, Parvati's) so you would think they would play-up Trish's likeability after the Lindsey incident.

If there is a hidden winner this year, it's more likely to be Tasha. The audience almost universally likes her, despite not getting that much screen time. And almost every decision she makes (even if it's questionable) gets justified by Tasha herself. They let Tasha frame the situation with Garrett in Episode 2. They had Kass defer to Tasha's decision-making in the J'Tia vote. They let Tasha play the mediator role in the Kass/Sarah fall-out. In this past episode, they showed Tasha describing how she sits in the water to make Tony paranoid, which the audience can then argue started the Jefra boot. When she didn't bid on the advantage, which seems stupid, they gave her a confessional to explain strategically why she didn't.

Still not convinced we're going to have a hidden winner this year, but if we are, it's gonna be Tasha.

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05-07-14, 09:07 AM (EST)
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84. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
See, from a game analysis standpoint, I'd totally buy a Tasha win. But from an editing one? She's either ignored, relegated to v. short term confessionals (as opposed to say Spencers long term ones) or given scenes showing why she WON'T win the game. I actually interpreted those examples very differently - I remember seeing Tasha get hysterical over not being allowed to strategize (the subtitling of this was particularly OTT), deferring to Chaos Kass on the J'Tia boot TC and FAILING to mediate adequately with Kass and Sarah and being so focussed on staying neutral she didn't notice that Kass was going to flip. It's interesting how two people can watch the same thing but see it very differently. Not saying either one of us is right or wrong, but that was very firmly how I took her scenes above. And she was my preseason pick to win so my bias was, if anything, FOR her..
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05-07-14, 11:39 AM (EST)
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85. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"

I wonder if when Tony got his advantage anyone noticed that Jiffy didn't tell him he had to wait until the challenge to open his advantage. That should have told everyone it wasn't an advantage to the challenge.

I should be watched....closely.

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05-07-14, 04:10 PM (EST)
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86. "RE: Episode 11 - Playing Hard But Not Always Well"
also, when JP introduced the advantage he noted it was an advantage in the game. Normally he would say, an advantage in the challenge. Small difference but it should have been picked up by anyone paying attention.
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05-10-14, 05:21 PM (EST)
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87. "Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make Sense"
The recap went back to LJ’s elimination, telling us that Tony needed to blindside his own alliance in order to get it done...
...But at the next Tribal Council, the alliance of five regrouped to take out Jeremiah, leaving Tasha and Spencer on the bottom.
(Spencer said that he and Tasha were up against this Goliath army of five)

Back at camp, Tony dug up his second immunity idol, while Spencer dug up a plan to trick Tony and save himself...
(Spencer was heard saying that he thought getting Tony paranoid about an all-girls’ alliance was gold)
...and it worked: Tony pulled in Woo, Spencer pulled in Tasha and together, they pulled off another blindside...leaving Tony’s alliance in the dark again.

As expected, Tasha’s role in stirring Tony’s paranoia about the women’s alliance wasn’t mentioned. All the credit was given to Spencer who even had to “pull in Tasha”. For Tony, it has to be noted that Jeff said he had been tricked. That isn’t the wording Jeff usually uses when referring to the season’s mastermind unless he wants us to see that the mastermind isn’t so masterful, that he will be outwitted in the end.

This Doesn’t Make Sense

Solarrion - Night 30

When the tribe got back to camp, we heard Spencer say that the pattern continued.

Kass had the first confessional: “I’m pissed off. Another blindside: Jefra is gone for crossing the Don, aka Tony, our mafia king. Everyone that crosses Tony gets their cement shoes and gets thrown into the pond.” Meanwhile, Tony was ready to give everyone an explanation but Trish said she didn’t need one; she knew Jefra was going to blindside him. Tony was happy that she understood. Kass’ confessional continued: “I feel that they didn’t learn the lesson from when I flipped from my other alliance which was: Don’t leave someone out. I don’t like to be the one slacked-jawed at Tribal Council and that’s now happened twice.”

By letting Tony off the hook once more, Trish looked particularly bad in this opening segment. Everyone in camp heard just how docile she was and that will leave her without a case to make in the end if she is there with Tony. She needs to be the one to vote him out if she hopes to win, but she has tied her future to his.
As for Kass, this episode would enable her to usurp Spencer’s place as Tony’s main rival. We all knew that she was going to the end, but now she thinks she sees a pathway to glory. Will the jury agree?

The argument between Kass and Tony started after she said, partly to herself: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” She then turned to Tony and said she knew he was a hothead when someone is on the outs. He replied that Jefra was trying to get him out. Kass went on, saying Tony was very condescending and acting like a jerk. Tony didn’t appreciate that but he dropped the argument by saying “OK, Kass”. After Spencer’s confessional, we would even hear Tony apologizing for being condescending to which Kass replied: “Good for you.”

Note that this argument was partly spliced together because Kass was sitting on the edge of the shelter when it started and she was now lying down in the middle of it. The scene could have been turned into a moment of defiance, underlining Kass’ bravery in front of the “Mafia Boss”, but we saw Tony’s desire to drop the argument and heard his apology. What we really saw was Kass’ passive-aggressive behavior and it would only get worse.

Having observed the whole scene, Spencer then had a confessional: “I worked with Tony for the last blindside of Jefra and it really was kind of a one-time deal, but now the dynamic is changed. Now we have Kass and Tony fighting like cats and dogs and that’s great for Tasha and I.”

I was hoping to hear Spencer say that they were fighting like Kass and dogs but he missed the opportunity! This confessional showed that Spencer wasn’t thinking in terms of an individual game. He should have realized that his tie to Tasha, the jury’s favorite, wasn’t helping him. At most, he should have seen her as a shield. That perspective could have made him realize that he had to work with Tony again, telling him about Kass’ plan.

After Tony’s apology, we heard the rest of Kass’ confessional: “What the hell am I thinking sticking with this person? It’s stupid. Play your game and I will play my game because I am done with him.”

How can Kass be our winner when she will go against her own words once more? She will eventually decide to stick with Tony, but we hear her say it’s stupid. Her reasoning will be that the game changes every hour, but, as viewers, we see that Kass changes her plans every hour. Some will say it shows her adaptability, I think it shows that she is like a pendulum and we even heard her say that it was bad to be like a pendulum.

Solarrion – Day 31

We heard thunder in the morning and it was rainy but it didn’t last long and we saw a rainbow before the camera turned back to the shelter.
While the women were sleeping in, the three guys were already sitting by the fire. Our “construction worker” was telling some of his police stories.
Spencer asked him how many times he was shot.
Tony said three.
Spencer asked him if he ever gets nervous. Woo suggested he must be nervous every day, but Tony said he never gets nervous, that it’s more like an adrenaline rush.

Spencer gave us another confessional: “I’m getting to know Tony more and I like him but (cut to voice-over) I still think Tony is lying to everyone all the time out here, and he’s good at it. Going forward, it’s tough to work with him because he’s sly and he’s playing harder than anyone and he’s very, very dangerous.”
Tony said that he was surprised that Kass was still in the shelter because “Kass is usually up. She must not be feeling well.”
Kass, whispering to Tasha and Trish, said: “You can hear Tony talking ___about me.”
Tasha said that he says stuff about everybody.
Tony was still talking about his cop stories but Kass said she heard him saying that she was a #####.
Kass in confessional: “So, this morning, I didn’t feel like getting up today so I decided to just lay there and listen. I heard my name out of Tony’s mouth, he said: Kass is such a #####, did you hear her last night. He is getting so bold in his trash talking and he’s just made me hate him a little more.”

The fight that ensued was therefore based on a misunderstanding. If anything, Tony appeared to be worried about Kass’ health. This was the pivotal scene of the episode and the edited version made it clear that Kass was in error. Her passive-aggressive behavior would soon be on full display when Tony reaches out to her on the beach and tries to explain it once more. Stubbornly, she stood by her claim that he had been saying mean things about her.

Kass told Tony that she heard everything he said about her.
Tony was surprised, asking her what she meant.
Kass replied that he knew what she meant and so did Spence and Woo.
Woo asked who? He added: “We didn’t talk about you.”

Spencer gave us his version: “Kass legitimately misheard Tony so now Tony is actually telling the truth which is rare. You know, this is a special moment and Kass doesn’t believe it. Am I going to clear up the situation? No! Tony wasn’t doing anything wrong, but if Kass is mad at Tony, that means she isn’t mad at me, and I’m just sitting back enjoying the show.”

This confessional connected Spencer with the audience because we were also supposed to sit back and enjoy the show. Oddly enough, Spencer should have intervened because his whole strategy had been based on Tony being a huge threat to win all the votes. Spencer should have said that they were talking about Tony’s cop stories and how great Tony was. Letting him look like a Hantz would soon ruin his plans and lead to Tasha’s elimination, leaving Spencer without his shield.

Tony gave a confessional: “For some reason, Kass says “I heard you talking about me” and I am looking at her asking: What are you talking about? Nobody is talking about you. She is off her rockers. I don’t know what is wrong with the girl and I don’t even care. Just stay with me, let’s keep the numbers going, let’s keep on voting people off, let me take her to the end with me so that I can win the votes. That’s all I care about.”

For the first time, we heard Tony say that he wants to take someone besides Trish and Woo to the end. This could easily kill all the suspense for the remainder of the season because Kass will soon share the same plan.

Kass had another confessional: “So Tony moved up as a player by making two big moves: Blindsiding LJ and blindsiding Jefra and using people outside his alliance to do that and not letting the people in his alliance in. It’s putting a red flag out there that Tony is willing to do anything to anybody. I mean, people that went with him are just cult members and I don’t want to be a cult member. I want to kill the cult leader.”

The episode’s second segment started with a confessional from Tony: “I don’t like tension around camp. Kass, she was mad at me, thinking I said something about her, so I said, let me just wash this and we will move forward according to plan before she gets any brilliant idea to try to oust me.”

We saw him approach Kass who was sitting alone on the beach and once more he told her that he wasn’t talking about her. Kass asked him to stop lying. Tony just walked away but she couldn’t resist taking another shot, saying he was making a big deal out of it because he knew it was true. Tony turned around to say it wasn’t. Kass said that everything that comes out of his mouth was a lie.

Kass had a confessional: “Tony; I’m happy that he is imploding. I like to have chaos and I like to have trouble. I like to see people at their breaking point in this game because it brings out the worst in them. I expect that from him because he’s an idiot.”

Tony sat down (on Shane’s old thinking seat...) and explained how he felt to Trish who advised him to let it go. Tony said he was done talking about Kass but he couldn’t resist adding: “She’s a nut job.”

Tasha had a confessional: “Kass is convinced that she heard Tony talking about her. I don’t really know, but you can’t convince her that that event did not happen, but if the two of them are at each other’s throat, it takes the target off of me.”

The fight continued when Kass returned to camp; Tony accused Kass of acting like a four year old to which she replied that she hoped he would learn a few things before reaching 40. She added that he was losing his mind out there. This went on; Kass saying she was going to vote Tony out, Tony daring her to do it: “Write my name down and you are going home.” To underline his threat, he told everyone he had the special idol. That revelation stunned Woo and alerted Spencer. When Kass asked him to produce the special idol, Tony said that they would see it if they write his name.

Kass (solo): “I don’t lend much credence to Tony’s claim that he has the special idol because Tony is known for lying.”

The scene ended with Tony saying that Kass couldn’t vote him out and, since she would go home if she tried, Tasha and Spencer were moving up another notch.

The Reward Challenge

Finally, the reward would show us that the season was filmed in the Philippines and not Burnett’s backyard. In a throw-back to the old days, the winning team would go to a local village and bring supplies to kids.

Spencer, Kass and Woo teamed up against Tony, Tasha and Trish.
Some interesting comments: “Kass comes up a little short.”
“Tony with a nice hit, Spencer with a massive hit. Kass with another...” (My spell check doesn’t understand Jeff-speak. I have to tell it that verbs are superfluous)
By the time Kass knocked out the final orange cube there were only two purple cubes left on the other table so the teams were practically tied when Tasha went up against Spencer in the rebuilding phase of the challenge.
At first, Tasha seemed to be running away but then Jeff said: “Kass now starting to guide Spencer. One day, you are arguing with somebody the next, you are relying on them ... Spencer and Kass really working together well ... Momentum has completely shifted. This is why you never give up. It’s an incredible comeback: Spencer, Kass and Woo win reward.”

It was nice to see Woo, the Asian American, have the chance to represent Survivor at the Asian village. He really was the star of that segment.

Woo in confessional: “Today’s reward was a phenomenal opportunity to give back to the Filipino community and to be an ambassador for Survivor. The minute we come out there’s this mob deep of beautiful young people. It was phenomenal ... It was something so humbling that I will possess in my heart for the rest of my life.”
Woo’s basketball tricks really impressed the kids.

Spencer had the next confessional: “I’m not a kid person and I’ll be the first person to say that I don’t really like kids. It was a little overwhelming having all these little monsters swarming me, but once I got into it, I did enjoy it and it kind of surprised me in a good way that it was such a positive experience for me.”
This personal growth type confessional is often given to the “Players on a Journey”, but it would work equally well if Spencer is the winner.

It was now time for Woo’s martial arts demonstration. He picked Spencer as his volunteer, and his routine amused the kids... and Kass.

Kass (solo): “I loved Woo doing his martial arts and being an entertainer. He was definitely in his element. Woo is usually quiet. This is the most he’s spoken in 31 days and it’s to 100 kids. I really liked Woo more after seeing how he was with the kids. I haven’t thought about the game in a couple of hours, but the kids have to go back to class and we have to go back to Survivor 101 and I’m here with two people who could be allies. Considering what happened last night at Tribal, I need new allies.” Kass told them that she was happy that they were together and that they needed to flush the idol. Spencer was all in with Kass’ version of “Plan Voodoo”, but Woo was a little more hesitant. Kass’ confessional continued: “I spoke with Spencer and Woo about working together in order to do a three way split to get rid of Tony. Spencer and I have had a lot of animosity in the past, but now we have a common enemy. I am no longer the enemy; Tony is the new enemy. And what do I say bonds people well? Hatred and enemies.”

Woo looked like he was still trying to decide what to say.

After assuring Kass that he wouldn’t tell Tony about her plan, Spencer had a confessional: “Kass has managed to screw up my game in the past, but now it’s my best move to stick with Kass and take out Tony because if Tony has both idols, he goes from being a threat to being the biggest threat there has been in this entire game.”

Woo still wasn’t sure if it was good to take Tony out before Tash. Kass said they had to get the idol. Seeing his hesitation, Spencer offered him a Final 3 deal. Kass saw it as a fair three where there is no landslide. Woo said it would be the right time to make a move but didn’t commit.

Spencer in confessional: “Honestly, working with Woo is stressful because all I am getting from Woo is: “Yeah, yeah. Something to consider. Right””

Woo also gave us a confessional: “At this point in the game, it’s going to be an individual game and we are all going to be looking out for ourselves. Playing since day 1 with Tony, it’s hard to go against him, but this game it’s doing what you can do to move yourself forward. That means that if I have to make a big move to get Tony out, it’s certainly something that I will consider.”

We then saw the trio as they were heading back to camp. Woo finally told them that he was in.
That led to another confessional from Kass: “I think Woo is getting into game mode. When we came back from reward, he just said that he was on board and I like that he took that time to think about it. It told me he’s not just knee-jerking this game.”

Since this segment was mostly about Woo, we can take the time to analyze the character we are being presented. There is no doubt that he is a likeable person and his win would rejoice many viewers, but his hesitations showed his limitations as a player. Even if Kass’ comment that she appreciated the time he took to mull it over, softened it a bit, his own words show that he doesn’t understand all the aspects of the game. He may have been with Tony since day one, but he certainly hasn’t played with him all along.

When they reached the shelter, Spencer told the other three that Woo had been the entertainer.
The sudden change of music told us that the fun and games were over.

Spencer informed Tasha that Kass was willing to get rid of Tony and that they had Woo on board. Ho told her about their plan to split the votes. Tasha worried about trusting Woo to which Spencer replied that they needed Woo or else then Tony already knew everything. He added that Tony is able to read people well, that it’s very hard to lie to him.

In the shelter, Trish worried about Woo but Tony was confident he’d find out.
As soon as Woo got in the shelter, Tony asked him if there had been any strategy talk.
Woo said that it had been all about getting rid of Tasha.

That led to a confessional by Tony: “Up to now, Woo has been a disciplined ally so I have no reason not to trust him, you know. Woo was telling me that Spencer wants to vote off Tash. It didn’t make no sense at all. So, I’m saying to myself: OK, you’re lying to me. Woo, he might be thinking of making a power move right now. I might have been wrong about Woo all along.”

During the confessional, Tony told Woo that he was expecting that Kass and Spencer would try to get him on board to blindside him which is exactly what actually happened but Woo denied everything. Like Spencer said, it’s not easy to lie to Tony.

The Immunity Challenge

When Jeff took the necklace, he told Tasha that she was one win away from Kelly’s record of 4 wins in a row. That impressed the group.
For once, the challenge was constructed in a way to make it hard for players to copy from each other: The items weren’t in the same order on the different boxes.
Woo kept on smiling every time he raced back and forth between the items and his station but he never got it right. All of them got frustrated, particularly Tony. After more than 25 minutes and numerous tries, Spencer won immunity. Before giving him the necklace, Jeff noted that Tasha had been off on one item for a long time.
(One piece of bamboo may have cost her the million)

Solarrion – Day 32

Back in camp, Spencer noted that everyone had been close in that challenge.
Tony agreed saying that it was anyone’s game.
Tasha noted that she had said the same thing, but Tony objected that the same two people keep winning.

Tasha had a confessional: “I’m bummed that I didn’t win the challenge (the confessional cut so that we could see her congratulate Spencer and hear Woo say it was “huge, bro”) but I’m not done yet. There’s still havoc to wreak.” Tasha, Spencer and Woo met in the woods and decided that the guys would vote against Tony while the women would vote for Trish. Spencer added: “We can’t lose. I don’t think he has that special idol.” Tasha’s confessional resumed: “Woo is very quiet but I think that Woo is ready to make a move so, hopefully, he will do what he said he will do. I just have to put on an act like I could be going home tonight.”

She approached Tony, asking him if the writing was on the wall. He simply said that she was a powerful player. Soon Tasha walked away and immediately Tony said: “She is too comfortable.”

We now have a second proof that it isn’t easy to lie to Tony.

Tony gave us a confessional: “Tash, of all people, didn’t win immunity today and she is not scrambling, especially when she knows it is her tonight. There’s something going on.” Talking to Trish, Woo and Spencer, he explained how Tasha’s behavior was different and that it would force him to play an idol. We returned to his confessional: “As of now, I have two idols ... I don’t want to use my special idol tonight, but if they call my bluff that I am not using the regular idol and they all put my name down, that special idol has to come out or I go home.”

Tasha then talked to Kass
(Tasha was about to wreak havoc on her own game)

Kass in confessional: “Tasha knows that she has to get rid of Tony and she knows that as long as it’s not her, it’s great.”
At this point, Kass was still voting against Tony and Trish. Her words showed that she had maybe a tiny doubt about Tasha who could have gone to Tony instead of with their plan. After talking to her, Kass ascertained that Tasha knew she had to get rid of Tony. Then, Tasha told Kass that Tony had run his alliance through fear, eliminating those that tried to double-cross him, adding that he was their Russell Hantz. That is most certainly when a light bulb went on in Kass’ mind.
Kass then gave us the confessional that ended Tasha’s game: “Hypothetically, if everyone hates him as much as I do, it could change my strategy. One thing I’ve learned in this game is that it changes every hour. Now, I’m thinking: Is he our Russell who makes it to the end and thinks he’s God’s gift and everybody thinks he’s a douche bag? I have to make a decision tonight based on: Can I beat Tony? Nobody ever gives the jerk the money so maybe I keep him. This is the position I love where I am the one really making the decision. Either way, chaos will ensue.”

Spencer and Tasha’s best move had been to tell everyone that Tony was guaranteed to get the votes in the end if he made it so why did Tasha change that approach? She is the one that gave the idea to Kass and it led directly to her elimination, sending Spencer right back to the bottom in the process.

Kass had a talk with Woo. It led to his confessional: “Kass pulls me aside and she asks me if we want to take out Tony and Trish or take out Tasha and I’m sitting here like Woh! this is insane. This game, it all comes down to that critical moment in the game and that is moments before Tribal Council. What are we going to do?”

It wasn’t just music that underlined this confessional but a thunder clap. It was used to tell us that this was indeed the critical moment in the game.

Tribal Council

Asked how she felt without immunity, Tasha said that it had made very clear that she was going home, but she talked about Tony’s idol and hoped that people recognized his threat.
Tony told Jeff that Tasha hadn’t scrambled like usual, that she made it look “like it wasn’t an immunity (sic!) night.” He added: “Her not being worried has me worried so that’s why I have my bag with me tonight.”
Tasha said Tony was the bigger threat, having put everyone on the jury.
Tony said his alliance was tight, loyal and that they were honest with each other.
That didn’t sit well with LJ.
Kass said that Tony was being disingenuous; he had to be paranoid to need his bag of tricks.
Jeff interfered once more by saying it was obvious that they had to use this vote to flush one of Tony’s idols.
Kass said that had to happen, but Tony asked why would they have to flush the idol if they were together. “Keeping the idol from the enemy helps the alliance.”
Being the loyal soldier, Trish said that Tony would use the idol on them if they needed it.
Woo agreed with Jeff that those idol gave Tony all the power to decide who sits on the jury.
Spencer told Jeff about Tony’s pattern of returning to the people in his alliance that were blindsided by his previous vote by simply saying: “Don’t worry, we’re still together.” He added that they believed him and that he was curious to see if it would change. Spencer was also excited to see what was in the bag of tricks.
Woo said that there was a plan in place while Tony said he was hoping the four stick together and that Tasha was going home.
Kass talked about getting to the final three and wondering who would vote for her. She added that tonight it would be a blindside.
Tony looked a little surprised by that.
Tasha was hoping for a blindside

Jeff went to tally the vote, which was a signal for Tony to untie his bag of tricks.
Jefra looked excited after Jeff revealed a vote against Tony and one against Trish but that is as far as her (and our) excitement went: Tony never needed to use his idol because Tasha was voted out 4-1-1.
(Jeff should realize that he kills the suspense when he uses a formula like: “12th person voted out and 6th member of the jury. It would be so much better to stay quiet and turn over the fatal parchment ... like he used to do way back when.)
No one seemed happy when Tasha rose to get her torch, especially not Morgan whose reaction was used to tell us how the jury felt.

In the end, Jeff turned to Spencer and said he was again on the outside of the group but, given the unpredictable way things have gone, “it may not be such a bad thing.”

The Story

Hearing Jeff say that Spencer was once more outside the group but that it wasn’t such a bad thing should delight me since it goes directly to the themes that we have followed since the first episode but it actually worried me. What if that whole storyline had been used as the distraction, as the lure that will keep the audience riveted to what could actually turn out to be a very predictable result? Everyone in the audience that expected Tasha would survive, that thought we’d have a Luzon Final three, fell victim to the editors’ bag of tricks.

The problem is that the narrative wouldn’t make much sense if it was to lead to a Tony – Trish – Kass – Woo Final Four. In order to bolster the underdog story, the editors wasted many opportunities to make us appreciate that foursome more. What other outcome should we expect when the two biggest rivals want to take each other to the end? There’s still the chance that Spencer could go on an immunity run or go back to his own bag of tricks.

The Characters

Trish: I wonder how many people agreed with Tasha in her voting confessional when she said that it would be better that Trish left instead of her. I’d venture a guess and say it was a big majority. The jury would never give her their votes if she simply follows Tony to the end, but we have seen no hints that she will turn against him.

Woo: This likeable guy is completely out of his league when it comes to strategy. Tony knows that he isn’t the loyal soldier and Spencer can use their talk against him so Woo will need some help to outlast. Who would want to help such a likeable guy?

Kass: Does she have a pathway to victory? Is it possible that Spencer’s remark that she has zero chances of winning was repeated a few times because of the surprise she creates in the end? Like Sandra, she is the seemingly weak woman that confronts this season’s bully. Can she get a similar result? Tony would need to have a total mental breakdown in order for her to get the votes from all those she betrayed at the merge. The fact that the pivotal scene of this episode was edited in such a way to make her look like she was truly off of her rockers like Tony said, tells us that she won’t win.

Tony: Besides some unnecessary comments, (lying on his badge, swearing on his family) I wonder why the narrative told us that Tony had been tricked by Spencer. It would have been easy to spin it more in Tony’s favor, make us think that there was a real possibility that the women were plotting against him. However, hearing Kass tell us that he could be the jerk that receives no votes in the end creates the necessary doubts about his chances of winning the game. With those two idols in his pocket and the other players seeing him as a potential goat, we can’t rely only on editing analysis to determine his outcome. It seems very likely that he will make it there and beat Kass in a landslide. That would explain the editors’ tricks that were used to bolster Spencer’s story.

Spencer: That being said, Spencer talked about Tony’s pattern of going back to his alliance after blindsiding it so now it could be the time that Tony blindsides someone in his alliance for the third time. Spencer has a pattern of his own: It always works out better for him when he works ON Tony instead of against him. Can he trick Tony once more even if he doesn’t win immunity? He has an argument to make because of the split votes. He could go to Tony and make the point that he and Tasha split their votes because Kass and Woo had agreed to flush his idol. Tony could very well see that as proof of Woo’s wavering loyalty and Kass’ threat.

On the other hand, freed of Tasha’s presence, Spencer could go back to Kass and Woo and sell them on their final 3 pact once more, but that will work only if he can convince Kass that Tony isn’t their Russell Hantz.

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Murphy3126 157 desperate attention whore postings
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05-11-14, 01:17 AM (EST)
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88. "RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make Sense"
THe main rivalry has been Tony & Spencer. The auction made it clear those are the only two playing hard. Spencer's star is falling. They didn't need to show us that Spencer really doesn't like kids. Nor asking Tony if he was scared when shot at ... not an appropriate question & a bit immature.

Woo's star in rising. Woo was acknowledged as the star at the school. Woo also did acknowledge Tony not talking about Kass at the argument.

Tony has been called paranoid, but also acknowledged as playing really hard. Kass is now clearly acting paranoid & confrontational to Tony when it served no purpose. Kass now has neon sign pointing to her. Instead of "Beetlejuice", the sign says "Kass - Zero chance of winning!"

Tony's star is rising when shown as trying to apologize to Kass & hoping the 4 stay loyal.

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05-11-14, 05:49 PM (EST)
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89. "RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make Sense"
Boy, I'm not sure I'd describe Woo's star as rising, especially in that whatever strategies or moves he narrates to the audience have both been cooked up by others and are never carried through by him (apart from following Tony's vote). I'm still rather uncertain about this season, but my winner's spread would be the following:

Tony: 45%
Spencer: 35%
Woo: 10%
Trish: 5%
Kass: 5%

Spencer has had the kind of edit I'd normally associate with the winner, but he almost surely needs a double immunity win (or more, if it is indeed to be the first final two since Tocantins) while there's something just a bit off about the prospect; and Tony's edit, while a bit too clownish for what you'd expect of Numero Uno, still has presented him as cunning, capable of taking, and aggressive in pursuing, the big steps, and able to sweet talk his alliance when needed. I'm almost certain one of those two wins - but, if such is not to be the case, I give Woo a slight edge over the remaining ladies, who will probably face an equally uphill battle: the one for being a sociopath, the other for the perceived coattail riding that seldom is rewarded.

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Murphy3126 157 desperate attention whore postings
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05-11-14, 07:21 PM (EST)
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90. "RE: Episode 12 - This Doesn't Make Sense"
Considering Woo's star has been below the horizon, it had nowhere to go but up ... if it ever showed up. Ya gotta admit, you like him better after the school, although that was the most entertaining thing about that Reward. I'd take away Kass's 5% & add it to Woo/Trish.

I like Spencer, but I'm not sure he's the underdog that can win. I like Tony's edit, except for threatening Kass with her being gone if Kass wrote Tony's name down. I can see Tony & Spencer as having a winner's edit.

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michel2 169 desperate attention whore postings
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05-16-14, 10:47 PM (EST)
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91. "Episode 13 - It's Medication Time "
Previously on Survivor, Spencer and Tony have been on opposite paths...
(We were shown a replay of the rock draw during the auction)
...Everything has gone right for Tony: He’s been at the top of a majority alliance and has multiple idols, even finding one with different powers.

For Spencer, it’s been a different story: His life in the game has been a constant struggle. He wasted his only idol and his allies have been picked off, one by one, but things started to turn around. He won immunity and the majority alliance was turning on each other. He even made a Final 3 pact with Kass and Woo and they targeted Tony but, at Tribal Council, it fell apart once again. Kass realized that Tony had enemies. (It was implied that Tasha was the one that made Kass realize this because we heard her say that Tony put everyone on the jury)
She decided to keep him.
Spencer could only watch as the majority alliance took out his only ally.

Even if it had been evident for a while, this recap really reinforces the idea that this season is all about Tony and Spencer. It’s hard to determine exactly what role this recap is giving to Kass. She could be seen as the arbitrator that will decide which way the game goes between Tony and Spencer, but I see it as being part of Spencer’s story; she added another obstacle on his road to the end game.

With the story reduced to a confrontation between Tony and Spencer, it’s easy to see that the viewers are encouraged to pull for Spencer. He is the one that has been struggling while everything has gone right for Tony. It would be incredibly dumb for the promoters of this show to diminish the accomplishments of their winner and that is exactly what they did to Tony here. After all, we could have been told that he was in difficulty at the merge and his alliance found a way to flip Kass.

Of course, Jeff saying that Spencer wasted his idol could be seen as a red flag, but it was part of Spencer’s hardship story.

It’s Medication Time

Solarrion – Night 33

The players returned to camp under a driving rain.
Spencer immediately asked what the point of all the shenanigans was. In front of Tony and Trish, he asked Woo and Kass why they made a Final three deal with him.
Woo said he already had a Final 3.

Spencer had a confessional: “Woo and Kass voted for Tasha, so it turned out that the deal that we had was a lie. So I left Tribal kind of confused.”

Kass, after telling Spencer that lying was part of the game, had a confessional: “At the end of the day, I realized that Tony has been a jerk to just about everyone at some point in the game. Maybe I’d rather go to the end with Tony who has burned so many bridges and has been so obnoxious that nobody wants him to win.”

In the shelter, Tony cut in the conversation to tell Spencer that they were toying with him.

That led to the continuation of Spencer’s confessional: “I’m playing against Tony who has played all these people like a fiddle and three foolish players who don’t think for themselves. (Right then, the camera showed us Trish who put her buff across her face to go to sleep. That was clearly telling us that she wasn’t a player, but we don’t have to worry about Trish’s chances anymore.) I’m almost definitely the next to go, but if I have any hope in the game, it’s the fact that I am playing with people who understand it so little.”

There are two possible interpretations of this scene: Some will say that Spencer is still the inexperienced kid that got fooled and that he is reacting negatively by insulting his rivals. I see it as part of his learning curve and that he is not being arrogant when calling Tony’s followers foolish because that is exactly what we have seen. They are handing Tony the game and seeing Trish hiding her face in her buff right then was the image that symbolized it.

Day 34

Tony and Woo took a boat ride, telling each other that they could win the next immunity challenge. They also used the time to clear the air. Tony asked Woo about Final 3, adding that Kass would be a perfect person to take to the end since she would get no votes and the two of them could battle it out.

Woo in confessional: “I did consider blindsiding Tony, but it’s a move that I decided not to make because, honestly, I feel like sitting next to Tony at the end of the game. Top 3 would be a lovely thing since we started this game together. I need him to see me as someone that wouldn’t backstab him, someone who would be loyal to him to the end. So I decided to fill him in on what went down at the reward.”

Woo said that Spencer brought up the idea to vote Tony out, adding that Kass was in on it and suggested they should be the Final 3. That really caught Tony’s ear, but he laughed it off, telling Woo that it was good to hear.

Tony in confessional: “Woo has been with me since the beginning. He has proven his trust and his loyalty to me throughout. The kid is genuine and it just tears me apart that I’m going to have to eventually blindside him. You don’t want to take someone like Woo to the end because he will have a shot at getting a few votes. He might get a lot of votes and that’s not good for business. I’m just thinking about my family. My wife told me: “Tony; when you go out there, don’t do anything stupid. Try to win the game.” Taking Woo to the end is stupid. I’m going to listen to my wife on this one.”

The juxtaposition of these two confessionals underlines Woo’s lack of understanding about the game. He is still thinking of a “lovely thing” it would be to stay with Tony to the end, but that’s not how the cop sees it. For Tony, this was a great confessional, reminiscent of Brian’s business trip confessional at the start of Thailand. This confessional is the first of two quotes from Tony that could be seen as hints that he wins. I see it as a hint that the season will have its climax when Spencer and Tony’s battle end at the Final Immunity Challenge. The title of Sole Survivor will come down to one challenge victory because the vote will be quite anti-climactic.

The Reward Challenge

Jeff’s words about comfort food and home delivery made me think that this could have been the reward they had been planned for the family visit. After all, staying in camp isn’t much of a reward unless it enables the winners to give their loved ones an understanding of their living conditions. (If that is true, then I wonder if the loved ones would have been running in the mud!)

Jeff once more mentioned that you can never give up in this game and the image that followed was Spencer diving into the pit, but it’s not as if he was immediately recognizable!

Despite Jeff’s admiration for mud structure on top of Kass’ head, it was clear that Tony was running away with this challenge. He should have asked for a bigger bucket. While Jeff mentioned how Woo and Kass used their hair to collect the mud, we didn’t see any particular trick to explain Tony’s success, but they didn’t even have to weigh the buckets. When asked who should share the reward with him, Tony chose “Anorexia.” Woo and Kass looked a little upset.

Since the camera didn’t show us Tony’s tactics to dominate the competition, the viewer is once left with the impression that it was too easy for him.

Day 34

The Terracotta warriors got back in camp and it was time for a confessional by Kass: “I’m actually glad that Tony picked Trish for the reward because it solidified that those two are locked together. Tony is the alpha male out here and she’s the female. They are like a couple of baboons. I’m surprised she isn’t picking ticks off him right now. They are attached to the hip and everyone can see it and, in my view, no one in this game should have that much power.”

The episode really stressed Tony’s closeness to Trish so the viewers that didn’t pay attention to the voting booth presentation at the end of the episode will think that Tony got fooled. Those who realized that Tony actually voted against Trish will think he made a huge blunder. I don’t think he did, but in analyzing the edit we have to say that the editors presented this in a way to make us think that things are unraveling for Tony.

When the helicopter came into view, Spencer gave us a confessional: “The pizza reward is kind of like a metaphor for what’s going on in the game: Tony is winning, he’s taking along Trish, his right hand person, and no one seems to be bothered by that. Everybody seems to be handing Tony this game, much like the pizza, on a silver platter.”

If Spencer thought the delivery was a metaphor of the game then I’d say the way Tony went at the food reflected his strategy. He was scarfing down that pizza much like the game itself.

Trish told Tony to slow down or he’d throw-up. Trish had a confessional to tell us that she never saw someone snort a pizza down like Tony.
When they started talking about having to beat Spencer, Tony told Trish that he had both idols. He said he could use one at five and one at four.
Tony’s confessional: “Both the idols that I have now, even the idol with special powers, have to be used when it’s down to five Survivors left. My intentions are to lie to them and act like the special powers idol, I’m allowed to use it when there’s four Survivors left. If they do believe my bluff, I am guaranteed Final three.” After we heard the two agreeing that Kass would be easier to beat than Woo, Tony’s confessional resumed: “The game right now is in my hands. I have the power right now, I am in the driver’s seat, and I want to stay strong with Trish and Kass because those are the two less likely people to win more votes over me. I know I have Trish, but Kass and I, we have to solidify some kind of plan.”

Tony asked Trish if you can beat having a helicopter delivering pizza. Trish said you don’t, but Tony was quick to reply: “Unless you win a million dollars!”

That could be seen as the second winning quote from Tony and his idea to lie about the idol is brilliant. It’s not his fault if production is dumb enough to keep the rules secret, his job is to use them as best he can. Still, it sounds like he is about to take a fall.

Day 36
(Apparently nothing happened on Day 35. Tony probably needed a full day to digest that food!)

Tony and Kass went out to collect Tree Mail.
Tony asked Kass how she felt and told her it was an important day because one of them would have to go if Spencer won immunity.
He told Kass that he wanted to go to the end with her and Trish despite what Woo had told him in the canoe.
Kass in confessional: “Tony decided to confront me and say “I heard that you were conspiring against me. I want you to know that Woo told me all that and I’m OK with it, but you shouldn’t be doing that.” It was stupid of Woo to tell him, but it was stupid of Tony to tell me. (The scene below was inserted here) Tony pledged on his wife and baby that he was still going to take me to the end so I have been forgiven by the Mafia Boss, but if I’m going to sit next to Tony in the Final 3, I need to show everyone that Tony is a bully, that he’s an extremely unlikeable person and he won’t get any votes from the jury. Chaos Kass is back.”

In the middle of Kass’ confessional, we heard Tony say that he was telling her that so she would feel comfortable working with him. He added that Woo would beat him in the end but that, between them, it was 50-50. He swore on his wife and baby that they were going to the end.

The fight they had last week was started by a misunderstanding while this one started from a different interpretation of events: Tony told Kass he knew about her plan to overthrow him in an effort to clear the air between them, but Kass only saw the confrontation. If only she was doing this on purpose, it would be easier to consider her as a player.

As soon as she arrived back in camp, Kass confronted Woo about spilling everything to Tony.

Something was off in the timing of these scenes because Kass didn’t read tree mail when they got back. We clearly saw her carrying it into camp so we should have seen everyone huddling to hear the instructions. Kass’ clothing wasn’t the same during her confessional as when she talked with Tony so some of this may have happened at a different time.

When confronted by Kass, Woo looked shocked. He first denied saying anything. Since Tony walked into camp just then, Kass turned to him, saying that Woo didn’t tell him anything.
Tony was upset that Kass was investigating him. He was upset that Kass revealed one of his secrets, revealing Woo’s secret in the process!
As soon as he walked away, Kass told Woo that Tony swore on his wife and kid that they would go to the final three. Again, Woo looked shocked.

Kass in confessional: “I told Woo that Tony swore on his wife and baby that he is taking me to the Final 3 because, at this point in the game, you want as much paranoia as you can stir up, especially among tight, tight people. So, he just screwed himself because now, maybe Woo doesn’t trust him.”

Tony got so frustrated with Kass that he decided to talk “llama” to her.
Woo was seen deep in thoughts during that scene.

Tony in confessional: “That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s like: Are you kidding me? Strategically, Kass is perfect to bring to the end, but she is such an insult to this game so, as far as I’m concerned, we are done.”

The next segment started with Tony asking Kass to leave it alone. He then got up to check out the coconut tree and Trish followed. That left Woo, Kass and Spencer in the shelter.

Kass in confessional: “The typical strategy would be to get rid of Tony, but he has at least one idol that we are aware of plus he is such a jerk that I think I can beat him in the end. So, I think the best option for me at this point is to pull in Woo and Spencer and screw up Tony’s game.”

After having to admit that Tony didn’t swear on his wife and kids to him, Woo told Spencer and Kass that Tony would probably not take him to the end since he doesn’t have a bad rep with the jury.
Spencer agreed.

Woo in confessional: “I’ve been a close ally with Tony, playing with him since day one, but it’s come out that he promised Kass on his wife and baby girl that he would take her to the Finale three. Which means that I know for, almost for, a fact that Tony was going to blindside me so my trust in Tony has gone down tremendously.”

Spencer pointed out that Tony and Trish would decide who joins them in the end and which one goes home. Kass completed Spencer’s thought by saying they had to take out Trish, Tony’s goat.
That’s when Trish was shown walking into camp.

Trish, in confessional, told us that she heard Kass calling her a goat and that they should vote her out. She felt insulted because she had exhausted herself trying to be nice to Kass.

Spencer had a confessional: “Going into today, my game was basically: Win immunity. Now, there are some cracks I can work with which appears to be good news, but at the same time, I’m not stupid. I know that I am still target number one. So, even with everything going on at camp, I need immunity and I’m going to fight my ##### off for it.”

The Immunity Challenge

There were some very interesting quotes that not only summed up the game between Tony and Spencer up to now; they sounded like Jeff was telling us the way this game will end.

- “First stage, very simple...Tony off to a great start... Woo and Spencer struggling...”
- “Big early lead for Tony...Woo now in on it...This is a long challenge. Don’t panic: Focus”
- “Tony has been leading this challenge from the beginning...He is flying through this challenge.”
- “Trish, Woo and Kass falling out of it.”
- “It is now between Tony and Spencer...Tony has got a big lead.”
- “Tony sliding pieces all over the place, rapidly. Does he know what he is doing or did he just lose his mind after 36 days?”
- Tony, sliding pieces around like a madman, Spencer is studying the puzzle. Two very different approaches (Which brings us back to the shark and the sea anemone!) ”
- Tony continues to work at a feverish pace. Spencer, very methodical...but it’s working... This would be a huge comeback.”
- “You solved that so fast, I barely saw it happen.”

Tony had a confessional while the players filed out: “Worst case scenario came through for me today; Spencer has won immunity once again so now we have to speed up the process of elimination from our own alliance which is going to be very, very hard.”

Day 36

Back in camp, Tony admitted he couldn’t do puzzles.

Spencer gave us a confessional: “Winning immunity didn’t just feel good, it was Nirvana! I mean, this was a win of epic proportions. My back was against the wall, I had to win and I did. Now that I have immunity, these four are going to have to turn on each other and cannibalize each other and I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the show.”

If Spencer was a Journey Player, this confessional would have been the zenith of his story. Is there more to come? I certainly think so, but I could be wrong.

Trish asked Kass if she thought she was stupid or deaf.
Kass said she knew Trish was listening.
Spencer intervened, but Trish told him she understood where he was coming from and wasn’t holding it against him. She wanted Spencer to know that Kass plays both sides and then paints herself as the victim.
In confessional, Trish said she wasn’t passive-aggressive, that she confronts people directly while Kass is an agitator. She went on to describe Kass’ constant grin very accurately.

Kass also had a confessional: “Trish went totally off the hook on me. She looked like Skeletor with those big blue eyes popping out and her skeleton fingers waving in my face.” We heard Trish say that Kass was vicious and cruel, adding that everyone saw it except her. When Tony suggested they go take a walk, Kass continued with her confessional: “Trish is upset that I threw her under the bus which is part of the game so get over it. Is it going to cost me my game? It could.”

Left alone in camp, Spencer told Kass that they needed to get Woo, adding that they couldn’t do a thing if those three were together.

In the woods, Tony told Woo that he was now making a promise to him and that Kass was done.

Tony had a confessional: “Today, I had to do a lot more scrambling, a lot more lying all because Kass blabbing her mouth to Woo, telling him that I was taking her to the final 3. The problem is that I didn’t make any promises to Woo to go to the Final 3 and now he is suspicious of me. Kass may be a beautiful person on the outside world, but as far as Survivor is concerned, she is absolutely horrible. Why would she go and tell that I said all this stuff unless she was looking to blindside me? Therefore, she is going home, period.”

After getting Tony to swear on his dead dad, Woo had a confessional: “Tony is making all these promises pretty much to everyone. So, at this point, I don’t feel like I can trust him. The problem is that, at the end of the game, I am sure that Tony is going to save Trish over me so I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to make that big move.”

Woo went to Kass, telling her that he was voting out Trish.

Kass in confessional: “Woo came over and said he was voting out Trish which would be amazing, but, unfortunately, I am skeptical because he has before said he was going to do something and then decided not to. I don’t know how serious Woo is about this.”

Woo confirmed his decision to Spencer, saying he was thinking long term.
That’s when Tony noticed the trio talking and he came closer to spy on them.
Woo, Spencer and Kass made a pact to the Final 3.

Woo (solo): “I’m the swing vote at this point. I can either take out Trish or I can take out Kass. I haven’t made up my mind at this point, I’m still trying to figure out what’s best for me so I have to make a huge decision and time is ticking.”

The camera showed us that Tony and Woo talked while walking along the beach.

We heard a voice-over confessional by Tony: “I just saw Woo talking to Spencer and Kass and I’m thinking to myself what the hell just happened?” Tony was telling Woo that it was an injustice to bring that girl to the top. Tony went on: “I just have to make sure that me and Woo are on the same page. If not, I may have to break my promise and change the plan. I don’t want to do that, but we will see what happens tonight.”

Tribal Council

Jeff went right away to “the good part”, telling Tony that one of the four was about to go home.
Jeremiah was all smiles hearing that.
Tony: “The challenge beast...prevailed”
Asked about the mood in camp, Kass told Jeff that Trish railed into her like a “wild skeleton blue-eyed banshee.”
Tasha grimaced at that remark, but Jeff didn’t quite get it.
Kass said Trish was showing her capacity for hatred.
Jeremiah and Jefra were shocked by that comment.
Trish simply said: “Kass, unfortunately, is always the victim and she likes to be a trouble-maker, but then she doesn’t like conflict. If you are going to be an agitator and you are going to plot Woo against Tony and Tony against Woo, don’t sit back and say: “I didn’t do anything. Everybody is being so mean to me.” She has a fight with everybody, every day. I haven’t fought with anybody on the jury or had a confrontation with anyone outside of Kass.”
The jury was eating her words, but Trish, that is why you are now part of the jury.
Kass had a remark that made the jury frown.
Spencer said things had gotten crazy and that his win sped up the process.
Woo said their foursome was breaking up, adding that he saw it as three Brawns versus two Brains. Woo told Jeff that Kass was back with Spencer, making her very vulnerable.
Asked about her loyalty to the alliance of four, Kass said she didn’t “expect psycho-##### to come out” at her.
LJ and Jeff were once more shocked by Kass’ choice of words.
Tony said Kass was delusional. He went on to imitate Kass much to the delight of the jury.
Kass said it went the way she wanted which Tony found very ironic. Kass continued by saying Tony’s anger showed Woo that he couldn’t be trusted.
That’s when Tony really scored points against Kass by saying he shows his emotions by facial expressions while Kass always has the same grin no matter how she felt. He even pointed to it, saying: “Look! There is is!”
Everyone found that very funny.
We then had Tony talking like an animal again so that Kass could understand him.
Jeff could only say “Wow” while Trish found it awesome.
Jeff was surprised that Spencer looked disgusted by this.
Spencer said he did find it funny, but that he felt like he was in “One Flew over the Cuckoos’ Nest.”
Trish said: “And it’s medication time.”
Once more, everyone laughed at that remark.
Woo said he felt stuck in the worst family possible ; “Tony being Dad and Trish being the Mom, Kass being the sister and Spencer being the son and I’m just like that foreign exchange want to tell these guys to shut up and concentrate on the game.”
Jeff was surprised that so many people were laughing when someone’s dream was about to fall 3 days short.
Tony said the vote would not be emotional, just game play. He added that he was definitely not going home which got him to take out his bag of tricks once more. He took out “the new special one.”
Like Jeff said, that brought some big reactions.
Spencer said that Tony was the biggest threat to win the game, but that his idols complicate things.
Jeff sent them to vote.

Spencer voted by saying: “This cat fight has to be resolved somehow. Sheesh!”
Trish voted against Kass: “I suggest a book on self-awareness.” she said. “It will be helpful for you in the future.”

After Jeff returned with the votes, Tony stood up saying: “I don’t need to play it, but I have no use for this thing. It stays on the island.”

Kass clapped her hands when Jeff read the 3rd vote against Trish who walked out wishing everyone good luck. Kass answered that by raising her middle finger which shocked Sarah and displeased LJ.

Jeff told the Final Four that it was anybody’s game to win.

Quite surprisingly, we would discover that even Tony voted against Trish.

The Story

Despite all his arguments with Kass, his vow to get her out and his promise to take Trish to the end, Tony voted against Trish. The editing was heavily manipulated because we didn’t hear his reasons. Tony must have talked to Woo about voting against Trish but we never saw that scene. There was that scene in the canoe at the beginning where they agreed they’d go to the end with Kass, but that was before all the upheaval we witnessed in this episode. It seems that, in the end, they simply went back to their original idea but we can’t know for sure.

Of course, the editors’ decision to keep us in the dark about Tony’s intentions were done to preserve the suspense of this episode and could have no bearing on the end result, but it’s still part of the story that we have to analyze. Woo looks much smarter, much less like the loyal soldier with this presentation while the part of the audience that didn’t pay attention to the vote reveal will think that Tony got fooled. Even those that know how he voted will think that he missed a glorious opportunity to save Trish by giving her that old idol. On the other hand, it gave us the impression that Tony’s road to the end has gotten much harder.

The Characters

Kass: Every time Kass talks at Tribal Council, we get a reaction from the jury. That alone tells us that Kass will have to answer to them in the end. Add the fact that every player sees her as the perfect goat and she has a reserved seat for the Final Tribal Council. That’s something we’ve seen for a while now and the general impression is that Kass will be raked over the coals during questioning. Can this seasoned lawyer turn things around? The spunk she shows during Jeff’s questions and Tony’s comments could be appreciated by some jurors. Like us, the jury likes a good show and how many players have flipped the bird and used words like psycho-##### during TC? The reactions we’ve been shown however are all negative so it seems like the jury has already reached a verdict where Kass is concerned.

Woo: For the first time, Woo took charge of a mission and it succeeded. Besides being a nice guy, he now has a solid case to make to the jury. Like he said, he has a good reputation with them so he’ll get the majority of votes if he makes it to the end. The martial artist will be dangerous in a challenge that doesn’t involve a puzzle, but we don’t hear anyone worrying that he could win his way to the end. Usually, when we don’t hear anyone worrying about a potential challenge threat, it’s because that player won’t win the important one.

Tony: Did he make a mistake by letting Trish go? The immediate reaction is yes and that’s probably the editors’ intent. We could look back and say that he lost the game when he didn’t give his idol to Trish. However, I think Tony did this after making some very complex calculations. The first advantage he gets from this vote is that Trish won’t know that he voted against her. (Unless she recognized his handwriting, but I’m almost sure production kept Tony’s vote in the urn) She will not only be a sure vote for him in the end, but she is also going to sing his praise at Ponderosa for the next three days. Tony’s second advantage comes from keeping Woo in the game. Tony wasn’t going to use his idol to save Trish in order to boot his perfect goat, Kass; he would have used it to eliminate Woo. Woo is Tony’s back-up in his fight against the challenge beast, Spencer. The problem is that Tony will have a hard time beating Woo in the end. Tony will need a Final 2 to make this gambit work.

Tony will certainly win a vote if he is alone against Kass in the end. Some think that he will crumble under pressure and lose many votes to Kass who, as a lawyer, knows how to handle a jury. This Tribal Council showed us that Tony has the jury eating out of the palm of his hand when it comes to arguing with Kass.

The main problem I see regarding Tony’s chances to win came to light in the recap of this episode. Jeff’s words told us directly that Tony has benefitted from an easy ride: “Everything has gone right for Tony” he said. Normally, the editors try to show us how a player overcame the odds so the wording of the recap diminishes his accomplishments. I don’t think that’s a winner’s edit even if thing didn’t go right this time.

Spencer: I think we only have to listen to Jeff’s words during the immunity challenge to feel confident that Spencer will complete his comeback. He was methodical while Tony was going at it like a wild man. All of the hype around Spencer’s story could still have been done to hide a certain win by Tony, but it doesn’t seem likely. Even with the cracks in the alliance, Spencer knows his best chance is to win immunity and it now seems like a real possibility that he will do it. Spencer should win the title of Sole Survivor.

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