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"Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Reality Show Commentator"

09-13-14, 03:35 PM (EST)
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"Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Don't you guys miss the early seasons of Survivor? Nowadays, there isn't enough space to put the full title of the season on the header of our posts!

With that being said, Survivor - San Juan del Sur - Blood versus Water is just around the corner so I thought it would be fun to start looking at the people that have been cast for this season.

Last season, the editors surprised us by "hiding" the winner in plain sight. I fell for the "never give up" story that seemed centered around Spencer but, in the end, it was Tony that was saved by an unexpected challenge win by Kass and a last minute stupid decision by Woo. Despite the lucky turn of events, it was still a fun season.

Some will say that I messed up but I have missed obvious winners before, JT and Denise for example. I want to point out that, while I try to discover who will be the Sole Survivor, that isn't the main goal of this thread. What I want to do is have fun with the stories that are being told, the themes that are developped during the season. It's really about discerning the long term players of the season and how their stories evolve from the start. Kass, Spencer, Tasha, Tony and Sarah were the players that we followed through those themes and they were the ones that made it an interesting season.

Jeff says this is a fun cast and the events may prove him right but, from my perspective, most of the players' introduction videos were dull. First of all, it's a very young cast with only 5 players over the age of 35. 9 of them are in their twenties so we already have an indication that the senior citizens of this cast are in trouble. Also, it seems that almost every pair talked about voting out their partner as if this was part of the script that production imposed. Jeff talks so much about the need to make big moves that the equation is easy to understand:

Ratings need big moves +­ People want to look good on TV = People make big moves because they know that, even if it kills their game, they will get a return invitation. Survivor Blows? Indeed! But we all knew that there wasn't much reality in Reality TV, didn't we?!

With the bashing firmly established, let's look at these DAWS and see if their introduction videos give us an indication of things to come.

John Rocker and Julie Mc Gee

Hopefully, we will get some laughs from “Off-his-Rocker” but it will be a surprise if he does better than Kent. The retared pitcher says he will take his clubhouse experience to get along with his tribe mates but that remains to be seen.

Listening to his video, I got the feeling that he talked to a PR expert and was trying to say all the right things but how long can he keep it up? For example, he says he can read people and change his personality to mesh with other but will he be able to do it for 39 days? Or even simply for a week?! He enters the game with the right attitude and his biggest fear is to be voted out first. His athleticism should keep him safe at first but the fear to be voted out could make him do crazy things that would get him voted out first. More likely, I see him going the way of Culpepper; leaving just a few rounds before the merger.

Julie could be in as much trouble as Rachel and Marissa combined in the first BvW! She should be targeted just to prevent John from having an ally at the merger. Or, like Monica, she will have to watch her husband get bashed by his tribe. I doubt that she will be able to take it as well as Monica and turn it to her advantage. Playing with her boyfriend on the other side eliminates a possible flirting strategy. She says she is good at earning trust and John says her social game will be excellent but I don’t think Julie will make the merger.

Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly

Like his partner, Josh seems to have a fun personality and it could serve him well to make bonds with others. On the other hand, he could be too much for some of the other members of his tribe. According to Reed, Josh's weakness is a lack of a poker face so that could be fatal on Coyopa, a tribe with many big characters.

I get the feeling that Reed will lack the patience that is needed to play this game. Of course, he could go full tilt for 39 days like Tony just did, but that isn’t the usual winning recipe. If he can’t stand slow pedestrian and servers, how will he adjust when there is nothing to do for days? He is a big fan of the show so he could make it far in this game. He says he plans to work behind the scene but that generally isn’t the first step. He needs to start by making connections in order to be able to do the things he wants to do behind the scenes afterwards. If he can’t establish enough connections, then he will be spinning his wheels to no avail.

Drew and Alec Christy

This pair could go down the way of Aras and Vytas in the first evolution of this twist but with a lot less fan appeal. They will be needed at first because of their athleticism but no one will want them to take control at the merger.

Drew is older and he seems to be the true fan in this pair. On the other hand, he says he is there more for the experience than the money contrary to his brother so maybe we will have a Cain and Abel story but with the younger brother wielding the knife.

It was funny to hear Drew say that Alec can’t shut up when it was actually the older brother that did most of the talking in their introduction video. I think Alec, the younger brother, the one that will be getting his college degree, has a much better chance to succeed instead of the big-planner, the party animal, Drew. Still, both are unlikely winners.

Missy Payne and Baylor Wilson

It seems that, according to Missy, the world has enough doctors, engineers and scientists so the little girls should all aspire to become Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Is it a Texas thing? At least the mom has made a business out of that crap. The daughter looks and sounds like a mindless puppet. People will say that she is still young but being 20 isn't an excuse for being that dumb. I see a spoiled brat that thinks she is better than everyone else.

The only interesting thing I found about them is that they put Missy, the person with the most pet peeves, on the same tribe as Jon, the guy who hates people that have too many of them! I'd love to see Missy start complaining about everyone's idiosyncrasies only to have Jon shut her up. If a conflict erupts between the two and the tribe has to decide between them, the athletic guy should have the advantage.

This pair was probably cast in an attempt to recreate the Laura and Ciera dynamics but I simply don’t see it happening. These two practically put me to sleep while watching their 2 minute introduction video so I don’t expect anything from them. This dynamic duo wants to make Survivor history by being in the final 3 together! I wouldn’t be surprised, or disappointed, if they make history by being the first two voted out. They talk about Baylor winning every challenge? Then they say she isn’t good in the water or in puzzles so that, right there, tells us that they are in way over their head.

Wes and Keith Nale

Wes says he will play like Ozzy and Russell which is about the worst combination possible! It tells us that he will become a huge target early on. He does say he understands the importance of the social game which was the downfall of his two idols but will he be able to apply it? I think he will go far only if he becomes someone’s tool.

Keith may have drawn the favorable ticket here by landing on the older tribe. At the very least, he has a chance of avoiding being the first one voted out because Missy could be seen as the weakest. That, however, is predicated on Honeypoo turning into a “Love-Tribe” where everyone gets along and they reach a consensus to vote out the weakest. Being teamed up with someone who looks a strong as Wes could hurt him also. I don’t give Wes and Keith even the smallest chance of winning this game.

Nadiya and Natalie Anderson

It’s been a while since I’ve watched The Amazing Race regularly but I’m sure they could have cast a more interesting pair than this one. I saw the premiere of their second Amazing Race and it wasn’t pretty to say the least. I think Natalie was more rational than her sister. From what I remember, Nadiya wouldn’t stop complaining about the wrong decisions that she thought Natalie was making so that should get her in trouble.

I don't give either of the twins a chance to win this game. They are abrasive even to each other so imagine how they will be to people that get on their nerves and there will be people getting on their nerves. I don't think they will be smart players either because they simply don't know the game.

Jon Misch and Jaclyn Schultz

Like Julie, Jaclyn could be in trouble just for being tied to a strong guy. Ex-Beauty queens have had mixed results on the show so will she be like Danni and Amanda or more like Angie and Katie? Time will tell but it doesn’t help that she compares herself to Jefra. In fact, it makes me think she only saw the last season and thinks she has the whole thing figured out.

I probably like Jon more than most viewers because he seems very well prepared for this game. I especially liked his answer that his pet peeve is people that have too many pet peeves. Could he be good for a few funny moments? That would be great. He seems to understand the importance of the social game so that could get him far in this game. I also like the fact that he doesn’t come in with a pre-planned strategy, a “ready-to-wear” game plan. Like he says; you have to let the game develop BUT I hope he doesn’t forget the importance of the early alliance.

Dale and Kelley Wentworth

In practically every pair, it’s one’s person idea to be on the show, to play this game. In this case, it seems to be Dale’s adventure and it sounds more like Kelley is there to accompany him. Unfortunately, he says that he isn’t good at the social game so that could end his story fairly quickly. Even if Dale manages to get along with the others and shows that he is a strong worker, his age will cost him the game. Age has always been the biggest divider in this game. Being teamed up with his daughter is an advantage he has over the other older gentleman, Keith, because no one should target him to weaken her game. While farming isn’t as demanding these days, it still keeps a man in shape a lot more than a sedentary job. Dale, like other older men, could go far if he survives the early votes but I don't think he will. He'd need a good social game.

Even if this wasn’t her idea, Kelley seems to have the right attitude towards this game. She looks like a smart, athletic woman. If she is as good at scrabble and board games as she says, it could help her in some of Survivor’s “Mickey-Mouse-challenges”. It must be noted that she has probably the worst pet peeves to play Survivor. She says she can’t stand people who are either lazy, overconfident or don’t stick to their word, so that could easily get her in trouble. However, she says that socializing is her strength so maybe she will find a way to live with the others. Being paired with a non-threat will help her fly under the radar. Kelley has to be considered as a possible winner.

Jeremy and Val Collins

Jeremy could be the surprise of the season. He names JT, James and Tyson as the players he’s liked so we know he has watched the show before. Being a firefighter could not only help him get in an alliance with Keith and Wes but it should help him in the more physical challenges. He seems to be a very likeable guy so, hopefully, that will help him early on and not come back to bite him in the butt when the players start eliminating jury threats. His laid-back attitude could also help him if the tribe is doing well and getting along, but it could turn into a problem if they are struggling to win challenges or build a decent shelter. I think Jeremy could win this game.

Police officers have done well in strategy games lately so maybe Val will continue the string. She hates liars though so it makes me wonder if she will think everyone is lying to her. That isn’t a bad way to play the game but it can be exhausting. Saying that she compares herself to Monica and Taj doesn’t tell us much about her potential game as those two are probably people she liked more than players she would emulate. I was very impressed with her attitude and how she thinks her job will help her. If Jeremy doesn’t win, maybe his wife will.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... suzzee 09-22-14 1
   RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... michel2 09-22-14 2
       RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Round Robin 09-23-14 3
           RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... suzzee 09-24-14 4
               RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... michel2 09-24-14 5
 Everyone Loves a Firefighter michel2 09-27-14 6
   RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter Georganna 09-27-14 7
   RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter Tyrone Slothrop 09-28-14 8
   RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter suzzee 09-29-14 11
       RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter michel2 10-01-14 15
   RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter Flowerpower1 09-30-14 12
       RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter michel2 09-30-14 13
           RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter Flowerpower1 10-01-14 14
               RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter michel2 10-01-14 16
   RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter SuperGrover 10-03-14 19
 RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Deitaphobia 09-28-14 9
   RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... bbaper 09-29-14 10
       RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Outsider32 10-02-14 17
           RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... PepeLePew13 10-02-14 18
 Episode2 The Assets: michel2 10-04-14 20
   RE: Episode2 The Assets: Flowerpower1 10-05-14 21
       RE: Episode2 The Assets: suzzee 10-06-14 24
       RE: Episode2 The Assets: michel2 10-06-14 25
           RE: Episode2 The Assets: Flowerpower1 10-07-14 26
   RE: Episode2 The Assets: SuperGrover 10-06-14 22
       RE: Episode2 The Assets: Flowerpower1 10-07-14 27
   RE: Episode2 The Assets: suzzee 10-06-14 23
 RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Georganna 10-09-14 28
 Episode 3 - Making Changes michel2 10-11-14 29
   The Odd Couple ... Georganna 10-11-14 30
       RE: The Odd Couple ... michel2 10-12-14 32
           RE: The Odd Couple ... Georganna 10-13-14 36
               RE: The Odd Couple ... michel2 10-13-14 37
                   RE: The Odd Couple ... Georganna 10-14-14 39
   RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes Outsider32 10-11-14 31
       RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes michel2 10-12-14 33
   RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes Flowerpower1 10-13-14 34
       RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes michel2 10-13-14 35
           RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes Flowerpower1 10-13-14 38
               RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes CTgirl 10-14-14 40
                   Additionally... Flowerpower1 10-14-14 41
 Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls michel2 10-18-14 42
   RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls Outsider32 10-21-14 43
       RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls michel2 10-21-14 46
   RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls Flowerpower1 10-21-14 44
       RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls michel2 10-21-14 45
           RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls Flowerpower1 10-22-14 47
 Episode 5 - The Honeymoon michel2 10-25-14 48
   RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon Jims03 10-25-14 49
       RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon michel2 10-27-14 54
   RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon suzzee 10-27-14 50
       RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon michel2 10-27-14 55
   RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon Flowerpower1 10-27-14 51
       RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon Jims03 10-27-14 52
       RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon michel2 10-27-14 53
 Episode 6 - The New Power Couple michel2 11-01-14 56
   RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Jims03 11-01-14 57
       RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... michel2 11-01-14 61
   RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Tyrone Slothrop 11-01-14 58
       RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... PepeLePew13 11-01-14 59
           RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Jims03 11-01-14 60
           RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... michel2 11-01-14 63
               RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... PepeLePew13 11-01-14 64
       RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... michel2 11-01-14 62
           RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Outsider32 11-02-14 65
               RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Outsider32 11-02-14 66
   RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Coupl... Flowerpower1 11-05-14 67
       Question... Flowerpower1 11-07-14 68
           RE: Question... michel2 11-08-14 69
 Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: michel2 11-08-14 70
   RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: Outsider32 11-09-14 71
   RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: Flowerpower1 11-09-14 72
       RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: michel2 11-09-14 73
           RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: Flowerpower1 11-09-14 74
       RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: Jims03 11-10-14 75
           RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead: michel2 11-12-14 76
 Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs michel2 11-15-14 77
   RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs Callandor 11-18-14 78
       RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs michel2 11-18-14 81
   RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs suzzee 11-18-14 79
       RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs michel2 11-18-14 80
   RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs Flowerpower1 11-18-14 82
       RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs michel2 11-18-14 83
           RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs Flowerpower1 11-19-14 85
               RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs Sheldor 11-21-14 88
 RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Georganna 11-18-14 84
   RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... michel2 11-19-14 86
       RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Georganna 11-21-14 87
   RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Sheldor 11-21-14 89
       RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and... Outsider32 11-22-14 91
 Disappointed Outsider32 11-22-14 90
   !! michel2 11-22-14 92
 Episode 9 - It's Part of the Game: michel2 11-22-14 93
   RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Jims03 11-23-14 94
       RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... michel2 11-26-14 97
           RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... PepeLePew13 11-27-14 102
   RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Flowerpower1 11-26-14 95
       RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... michel2 11-26-14 96
           RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Sheldor 11-26-14 98
               RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... michel2 11-26-14 99
                   RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Sheldor 11-27-14 100
                       RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... PepeLePew13 11-27-14 103
                           RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... michel2 11-28-14 105
           RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Flowerpower1 11-27-14 101
               RE: Episode 9 - It's Part of the Ga... Jims03 11-27-14 104
 Episode 10 - Complete Chaos michel2 11-29-14 106
   RE: Episode 10 - Complete Chaos Flowerpower1 11-30-14 107
       RE: Episode 10 - Complete Chaos b1whois 12-01-14 108
           RE: Episode 10 - Complete Chaos michel2 12-01-14 110
               RE: Episode 10 - Complete Chaos Flowerpower1 12-01-14 111
       RE: Episode 10 - Complete Chaos michel2 12-01-14 109
 Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fighti... michel2 12-06-14 112
   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Tyrone Slothrop 12-07-14 113
   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... kingfish 12-08-14 114
       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-08-14 118
   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Flowerpower1 12-08-14 115
       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... suzzee 12-08-14 117
       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-08-14 120
           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Flowerpower1 12-08-14 122
               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-08-14 123
           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Georganna 12-08-14 126
               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Brownroach 12-09-14 127
                   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Georganna 12-09-14 128
                       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Brownroach 12-09-14 129
   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... suzzee 12-08-14 116
       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-08-14 119
   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Jims03 12-08-14 121
       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-08-14 124
           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Jims03 12-08-14 125
               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Flowerpower1 12-09-14 130
                   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Jims03 12-09-14 131
                       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-09-14 132
                           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Jims03 12-09-14 133
                               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Brownroach 12-09-14 134
                           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... PepeLePew13 12-09-14 135
                               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Flowerpower1 12-10-14 137
                               RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-10-14 138
                                   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Sheldor 12-10-14 139
                                       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Jims03 12-10-14 140
                                           RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-12-14 144
                                       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... michel2 12-12-14 143
                                   RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Flowerpower1 12-10-14 141
                       RE: Episodes 11 and 12: Whining, Fi... Georganna 12-10-14 136
 The final five Outsider32 12-10-14 142
 Episode 13 - If They Were Smart michel2 12-13-14 145
   RE: Episode 13 - If They Were Smart PepeLePew13 12-13-14 146
       RE: Episode 13 - If They Were Smart Outsider32 12-16-14 147
       RE: Episode 13 - If They Were Smart Outsider32 12-16-14 148
           Also Outsider32 12-16-14 149
 A Look Back at San Juan Del Unsure michel2 12-21-14 150
   RE: A Look Back at San Juan Del Uns... suzzee 12-29-14 151

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suzzee 5616 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

09-22-14, 11:33 AM (EST)
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1. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
LAST EDITED ON 09-22-14 AT 11:34 AM (EST)

Nice quick & dirty rundown. I haven't seen the cast video's just Jeff's assessment so I hardly know this bunch. Jeff sort of named Kelly & Dale as the journey couple and to a lesser extent the brothers Drew & Alec duo and I agree with you those two are no Vytas/Aras types and come off as whiney rather than focused.

I appreciate your thoughts and I hope more people come back to blows to contribute.

I see you're still with Cesternino's this season.

Suzzopolis by Tribe

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Reality Show Commentator"

09-22-14, 09:12 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Thank you Suzzee, I always appreciate your contributions. While this place was the best for a very long time, we don't get much action these days. Rob's site is a lot of fun for that.
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Round Robin 2662 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Survivor-themed Cruise Spokesperson"

09-23-14, 09:46 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
RTVW's message boards in general don't seem to be getting much action for any of the shows lately. I see more discussion of reality competition shows on Twitter than anyplace, and there are lots of ex-players over there, some of whom still follow the shows they were on.
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suzzee 5616 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

09-24-14, 03:39 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Ugh, I know. This is like a go to place for me all Survivor & BB. waaaah. grrrr.

I will start checking out Rob's site more often though, so Michel you have a new stalker over there. Maybe some will find their way back little by little. Thanks a lot Mr. Fruit Loop Dingus Hacker for messing up my getaway place. pththt

I should be watched....closely.

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Reality Show Commentator"

09-24-14, 05:35 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Hopefully you will join in. It's pretty easy to register.

RR, I don't like the idea of twitter so I don't have an account and whatever the current players tweet is too close to spoiling for me.

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Reality Show Commentator"

09-27-14, 08:15 PM (EST)
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6. "Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
The premiere started with a reminder of the “highlights” we had in the first installment of the Blood versus Water twist, preparing us, once again, to “test the core of human emotions”.

We then saw a helicopter carrying Jeff as he flew over each pair’s day 0 camp. While we barely saw Dale and Kelley, the camera clearly showed us Jeremy and Val as they greeted the chopper. Jeff said: “It’s not even day 1 and the game has already begun” just as we saw Alec and Drew on their parcel of beach. We went back to Jeremy and Val as they reached their supplies which included flint. Jeff added: “Each pair has been given flint to practice making fire.” Jon and Kelley and Wes and Keith were shown going at it. Nadiya and Natalie were on screen when Jeff said: “It may be their only chance to help each other in the game” which, in hindsight, looks a lot like intentional foreshadowing.

In a welcomed return to the old days, Jeff introduced all the pairs, starting with Jon and Jaclyn, whom he said were already winners. While we saw Jaclyn carrying firewood, we heard Jon say: “Miss Michigan turned Survivor lady.” Their segment was mostly about dispelling the impression that they were the perfect couple.

Jeff then went on to John and the controversy that surrounds the pitcher. John said: “I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life trying to say I am not the loud, obnoxious, boisterous kind of guy, but the media has loved to paint me as a racist, bigot, homophobic, everything else.” Jeff then introduced Julie, saying that she hopes to provide the support they need to pitch a perfect game. (Was it a coincidence that John was shown carrying her at the time?!) Julie said she had a lot to prove because of the impression people get of her because of her looks (she narrowed it to the hair, the boobs and the boyfriend.) She went on to claim that she was independent and could stand on her own two feet but then she spotted crabs and immediately called John to the rescue.

We then met Missy and Baylor as they were trying to make fire. We heard Howler monkeys, Judd’s favorite animals, greeting them. They scared Baylor. Jeff talked about Missy’s three divorces and how they forced Baylor to take on the motherly role in this complicated relationship. Baylor was heard saying: “The divorces have brought us closer.” Missy talked about the unbelievable bond between mother and daughter. She added: “You can tear us apart; you can’t stop us, no way.” They still looked scared of the monkeys.

Next we had the brothers Alec and Drew and their sibling rivalry, saying that Alec would love nothing more than to outlast his older brother. Drew said he would love to see Alec win. While this was being said, we were being shown that Alec was the one that made fire.

The next pair was Kelley and Dale and the farmer was already hard at work. Jeff told us that, while Dale had been on the farm all his life, Kelley wanted to make her own path. Kelley: “My dad and I, we had an up and down relationship over the past 10 years or so.” Dale added: “I think Survivor will help us grow back together.” Their segment ended with them apparently unable to make fire because Kelley said: “we’re a hot mess.”

The first we saw of Josh and Reed, they were hunting for crabs. Jeff told us that these Broadway performers were “long time Survivor fans”. Jeff added: “Both think they have what it takes to survive 39 days.” Just as he said that, we saw Josh spearing and killing the crab. We also saw them quickly making fire while we heard them say they were comfortable in the outdoors.
The helicopter carried us to Jeremy and Val’s camp just as the fireman started the fire. Jeff said they were madly in love but, as a police officer and a fireman, they had a constant rivalry about their jobs. Jeremy said: “I’ve tried getting on Survivor for 10 years. I didn’t bring her out here and leave our daughters at home to lose.” Val added: “We are both in it to win it so may the best profession win.” (It’s tied 1-1 right now!)

Introducing the Sri-Lankan twins, Jeff said that they took an aggressive approach on the Amazing Race and that it failed them twice. We heard Natalie say: “Survivor is going to be way harder than the Amazing Race.” We heard the sisters starting a fight over fire. Nadiya said: “The longest we have been apart is 2 weeks.” We heard them calling out for help as the helicopter passed by.

Finally, we caught up with the father, son team of firefighters as they struggled to make fire. Jeff said: “While Keith is nearing retirement, he is not yet ready to pass the torch to his son, Wes.” We heard that Wes lost the striker to make fire. Wes said that it was his time to shine but dad disagreed, adding: “You are about as mentally strong as that rock.”

It has been a long time since we have heard complete introductions like this so we have to pay attention to what was shown. These pairs spent a whole day together but we barely saw 1 minute from each. The editors had a lot of material and they knew that the presentation would create lasting impressions so they must have put a lot of attention to this segment. While each viewer reacts differently, our analysis has to be as objective as possible to see which segments were meant to be positive, which were negative and which were chosen only for their entertainment value.

- The mainly neutral ones included Jon and Jaclyn, Drew and Alec and Dale and Kelley. It could be said that it was important to see Jaclyn-the-beauty-queen already hard at work but it wasn’t enough to create a lasting impression. One could argue that a story was established for the two brothers and for the father and daughter team, I saw it as rather trivial. The sibling rivalry may come into play during some physical challenges but their story is probably on hold until the merge. It remains to be seen if the father and daughter will have a chance to reunite.

- John and Julie, Missy and Baylor, Wes and Keith and Natalie and Nadiya had mostly negative presentations. John’s story is only about his personality and he said all the right things. At best, this will lead to a redemption edit or, more likely, it was a question of the calm before the storm. Julie is there to support John but we saw that she can’t support herself; she is already scared of crabs and snakes. Missy and Baylor were also frightened by the animals and they weren’t able to make fire. The good note for them is that a story is already established about their unique bond. While Wes and Keith had a negative presentation, I think it was shown to make us laugh and enjoy their company. If anything, the negativity was mostly thrown at Wes while his father looked like a good guy. The viewers who are fans of The Amazing Race recognized the twins and saw that they still can’t stop their arguments. They didn’t look ready for Survivors.

- Josh and Reed and Jeremy and Val had great introductions. The Broadway performers were described as true fans, something that the viewers always appreciate and, more than that, they showed us that they are survivalists. Right then, I guess that most of the viewers who knew nothing of the cast beforehand started rooting for this pair. If they didn’t, then it was because they decided to root for the husband and wife team instead. While they weren’t presented on the same level of Survivalists as Josh and Reed, they were presented as true competitors. The segment’s message was clear: They are ready to play the game. That is something viewers like also.

Next, Jeff went on his usual speech about working together while battling the elements and each other. Jeff concluded: “In the end, only one will remain to claim the million dollar prize”.
At that moment, we had a clear shot of Jeremy in what was obviously a winning pose.

Was it foreshadowing or misdirection? That’s what we have to figure out.

Everybody Loves a Firefighter

Day 1 started with the pairs making their way to the challenge arena. The first thing Jeff wanted to know was who made fire. The losers were: John and Julie, Missy and Baylor, Wes and Keith. Notice that Dale and Kelley apparently made fire even if we were led to believe they couldn’t. Asked if they were surprised by their ability to make fire, Josh and Reed confidently said no, Reed adding: “If you are going to be on Survivor, you need to know how to make fire.” John seemed surprised and impressed by them. Next, Jeff went to Keith and Wes who explained their problems. They made everyone laugh. The laughter only increased when they added that they broke their flint in half.

I noticed that the camera turned to Missy and Baylor when Keith said they were a father and son team. That combination could very well be a natural alliance for the mother daughter team. It is something to keep on the back-burner.

Going to the twins, Jeff asked who seemed to be in trouble from the start. Nadiya was diplomatic: “We learned on the Amazing Race not to judge a book by its cover...I feel like it’s anybody’s game.”

I found it interesting that the girls didn’t try to hide their Amazing Race experience. Maybe it was pointless, maybe somebody blurted out that they knew them but the presentation made them look careless, unaware that it could be sufficient reason to vote them out early.

When Jeff said they were dividing into tribes, Nadiya had a confessional to say that she felt a tug at the thought of being separated from Natalie.

This confessional was placed in a very familiar spot for someone about to be voted out.

Notice that those wearing blue wound up on Hunahpu, the blue tribe, while those wearing warm colors like red and yellow, wound up on Coyopa, the orange tribe. All of Hunahpu was in blue while John and Wes were the only exceptions on Coyopa. I think this proves once and for all that random draws are anything but random on Survivor.

Missy in confessional: “This is it. I am going to be competing against my daughter. It’s pretty touching for me and it brings it all home. This whole blood versus water; this is what it’s about.”

John told Jeff that this was like a civil war; brother versus brother.
Keith in confessional: “I watch all types of sports and I’m pretty damn sure that this is John Rocker, a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. He was an ass when he played then and he might still be an ass now.”

Jeremy told Jeff he would like to help his wife but she quickly countered that she didn’t need his help.

After Jeff explained the challenge, Hunahpu had to choose their player. Jeremy immediately volunteered. He confidently told Jeff that he didn’t care who was going to be his opposition so Jeff surprised him by saying it would be Val. Jeff was amazed, saying: “The couple that talked the most trash about each other get the first battle against each other.”

After that random draw, I am less amazed by this outcome. It’s all too neat not to have been planned.

Despite a nice effort, Val was no match for Jeremy. He was in tears when Jeff asked how he felt about sending Val to Exile Island. Jeff then asked him to choose one person from his tribe to join Val and we saw that Kelley really didn’t want to go. Luckily for her, Jeremy chose Keith. Strangely, Jeremy explained it was because he knew Keith could start a fire despite the fact that Keith had already told everyone he hadn’t made fire. Jeff pointed out the odd decision but Jeremy replied: “It wasn’t his fault; it was his son’s fault.” Everyone laughed at that except Wes. The two men exchanged a handshake and a hug as they traded places.

This reinforces our impression from the presentation that Keith is supposed to be considered like a good guy while Wes is the dumb one.

Jeremy had a confessional: “I knew it was Blood versus Water but my worst nightmare was to do that to my wife and now she’s just gone and it’s my fault that she is gone.”

If the intent of this season is to once again test the core of human emotions then Jeremy is giving us all that we need.

The second segment started with Hunahpu’s arrival at camp accompanied by a very joyous musical theme.

Reed (solo): “We walked along this beautiful beach. It was an epic moment. I have goose bumps...Now we need to do things. This is it: Go!”

Jon had a funny remark: “We have this rusty stuff so that we can get tetanus: It’s like Christmas morning.”

Jeremy was still having problems with the thought of sending Val to Exile. Missy comforted him saying they would all be in that position at some point.

Jeremy in confessional: “Everybody was saying: Good job and it was a tough decision for me to go up against my wife but everyone is happy that I won flint and beans. Going into the challenge against my wife, I was like (he chokes up) I was like I ain’t crying out here, you know, like day 1. These dudes are going to kill me back home. Me, going one on one with her, that hurt and then to see her go away? That’s my wife. I need to take care of her and I didn’t do that. In blood versus water, you do have to think about your loved ones. With me and Val, I feel that it is about us as a couple but it doesn’t look good for her. I have a good rapport with women, I get along with women so it’s time to go balls to the walls; it’s time to play.”

As he said the last sentence, we saw him approaching Kelley, asking for her thoughts. She said she thought he was a good dude. Jeremy said they needed to stick together. They agreed to form a strong two.
Jeremy then approached Natalie, saying he had talked to Kelley, telling her they needed five. He asked Natalie how she felt about Kelley. Natalie said she liked her.

Natalie in confessional: “I really like Jeremy, the way he fought today and the way his emotions after sending his wife to Exile Island showed a true, a good heart. I’d have to say that if I had to choose one person to be my designated twinnie, it’s Jeremy. Everybody loves a firefighter.”

Next on Jeremy’s agenda was Missy. He asked her what she was thinking. She told him that he looked super honest. Jeremy said they needed strength and brains.

Missy also gave us a confessional: “Being married and divorced as many times as I have, you learn to listen to your gut and my gut tells me that Jeremy is good.

Jeremy gave us another confessional: “This game; it moves so much. The beginning of the game messed me up right away but I feel good where I’m at, right now. Everybody’s on my side. I’m the popular guy and everybody wants to date the Prom King so this is perfect, this will work out.”

I noticed that we only saw Jeremy making the rounds, none of the women talked to each other. We have to assume that, at the very least, Natalie and Kelley talked for a little while because Natalie said she liked the Farmer’s daughter but we were never shown their exchange and we didn’t see Missy talk to them either. While this is Hunahpu’s main alliance, the story was all about Jeremy and how HE plays the game. The opening segment didn’t lie: Jeremy is a player.

It was time to go to Coyopa and we were accompanied by a much more ominous theme. The happy percussions had been replaced by a mournful chant and a slower beat.

Josh was still enthusiastic, showing his amazement at being on Survivor and holding a machete. Baylor shared his amazement, saying he was also cutting a coconut.

Nadiya had the first confessional of this segment, telling us about the tribe doing the necessities. Josh and Baylor had a second exchange when he asked her if she was in school. That led to everyone revealing their age. Nadiya’s confessional continued: “It’s a young group: Wes and Baylor and Alec: They are the young group. Then it’s me Josh and Jaclyn kind of in the middle and the other dude (John who belched right then) is forty and dad (Dale) is like 55. Come on.”

Dale in confessional: “OK, like I’m 25 years older than almost everybody here... My biggest challenge on Survivor is that I am not used to being in a big group of strangers. That’s tough, but you always have to be looking for the positive in the situation. My first trip to the water; I put the lid back on and I looked down and there’s this little emblem and I know it’s not an idol but it could be useful someday. I have to look at some other way to get into that tribe pretty fast. I’m trying to get fire so we can boil water. It smokes but the humidity just won’t let that red coal going. The longer I sat there the more pissed off I was getting at myself. I’m supposed to be able to start a fire... I did it a thousand times with magnifying glasses as a kid growing up.”

Baylor solo: “We need fire so we have two groups of people working on two different methods: Dale is working on glasses and the sunlight which I’ve never seen before work. Then we have group two which is a couple of us just scrubbing and scrubbing and trying to get something.”

Dale had another confessional: “I broke my glasses in half and doubled up the lenses to double the magnification on it. I’m sacrificing my ability to see in the game later on so I can start a fire.”

Dale’s method worked which led to a confessional by Josh: “I have to be honest: At first, you look at the older guy in the tribe and you know that they are immediately a target. Dale is the one that saved us all. The very first thing that we really needed; he provided.”

John said that Dale was a badass.

Dale confided that he didn’t need to worry about the social circles as much anymore. “I’m the fire starter now. That pushed me up the food chain so to speak.”

A lot of Coyopa’s narration came from Nadiya, their first boot. That is quite odd because, while we always hear from the first boot, they generally talk about their predicament and aren’t used as the tribe’s narrator. Her departure leaves us with an empty position, unless what happens to Coyopa isn’t important to the overall picture. Their first scene didn’t tell us a lot about the tribe’s dynamics but it served to connect us with Dale, to show that Josh has a good social game, that John belches and that Baylor underestimated the wise older man.

We joined Val and Keith as they arrived on Exile Island

Val, in confessional: “First landing on Exile Island was a big shock. The core of the tribe is all bonding so if they want to get rid of somebody first, it would probably be me. On top of that, Exile Island friggin’ sucks...You are really left with nothing.”

Keith: “I’m thinking of playing Survivor, I’m thinking of taking it to the end and then, boom! I’m sent to Exile Island. I’m the first out of the and Val. This ain’t the way I had this mapped out. I don’t even know my tribe yet. I don’t want to be here.”

After opening their urns, Val explained: “We each had a note and started to read it. I was so preoccupied with the fact that I had a clue to an idol back at camp that I didn’t even realize that his was blank.” She lied to Keith, saying that it was only about stuff at camp. Her confessional went on; “I think he expected that I would say: Read it. I wasn’t going to do that.”

Keith also had a confessional: “Mine was blank; the story of my life. I asked Val... but she kind of (?) around. If it has something to do with Val’s tribe, more power to her because I’m not going back to Val’s tribe. I’m going back to my tribe.”

The two started to get to know each other and Keith soon realized that he had something in common with Jeremy. He told Val that he and Wes were both firefighters.

Keith in confessional: “Just found out that Val’s husband is a firefighter. That is going to be a bond. That is going to be a big plus probably. When I get back to camp, I am going to check in with Jeremy and see where he stands but who knows? I don’t know what I am going to walk into going back there. Worst case: All eight of them hate me and that’s the end of my Survivor career.”

Keith’s confessionals were much more game oriented than Val’s. She only told us that she could be the first one voted out but he has a plan, he wonders about the tribe’s dynamics and he talks about taking it to the end. That, in itself, tells me that he could be in for a long Survivor career.

Hunahpu – Day 1

While most were away in the ocean, Drew and Jon were left to work on the shelter.
Drew gave us a confessional: “I didn’t really want to but I was kind of forced to step in and take control of the construction of the shelter. It was a lot of work... I hope the tribe appreciates the hard work and the effort that I put into the shelter. I was a successful model for the last few years. I’m not a big shot in Europe but I’m sure my face is around some different places, but I’m not here to be a model at all: I’m here to be a Survivor.”

Julie gave us the counterpoint in her confessional: “I’m not sure why Drew thinks he’s in charge. He is a little bit too arrogant; bless his heart. Being a woman and being who I am; dating John Rocker and he used to play in the major leagues, he is type A with a capital A so I understand the dude mentality and Drew: He’s just like a young dumb guy.”

That was an interesting juxtaposition of confessionals. Normally, the person giving the counterpoint is in agreement with the audience but here we had Drew completing what looked like a good shelter so maybe she appeared to get angry for nothing. Then again, the audience rarely connects with the models so maybe both were meant to be disliked. He is said to be the young dumb guy, she is presented as mean person.


Wes was telling Alec that he thought John was famous.
Wes, solo: “I have a suspicion about John the minute I saw him. I was like: I know that guy from somewhere. Then I realized he played professional baseball for the Atlanta Braves. That was my favorite team: Everyone watched Atlanta. That was when they were in their prime, you know.”

Wes then confronted John privately, asking him for his last name. John gave him a fake name but Wes wasn’t deterred and asked him if he was sure. John realized he had been made.

I found it funny that John used the name Wetteland because John Wetteland was also a famous relief pitcher but he played for the Expos and the Yankees (Mariano Rivera was his set-up man for a while) and was much less controversial.

John in confessional: “I was hoping to skate through this game and stay anonymous. I wanted to skate under the radar. If I am recognized by the other players in the game, I’m not going to lie about it because I haven’t had a lot of anonymity for the last 18 years of my life. Wes busted me. It didn’t take long...”
When John realized he had been made, he asked Wes to keep it under his hat. Wes agreed.

Wes solo: “He wants to keep a low profile. It was good. He’s from Georgia, I’m from Louisiana. I knew who he was. I felt like we had a connection. I played baseball so...”

In confessional, John told us what he thought of that connection: “With Wes knowing who I am; a secret like that being kept safe with him might not be such a good thing. The first council we go to, I will be a little jumpy. I may try to get Wes out.”

Contrary to their first scene, we had a little more strategy presented in Coyopa and it showed that John’s story is mostly about his identity but at least we are told that he has a plan about what to do to those who threaten to reveal his secret.

Coyopa – Day 3

The scene started with Baylor asking Josh about his eye. We soon found out that Josh’s left eye was very irritated.

Josh in confessional: “All of a sudden, my eye starts flaring up and now it’s just burning and constant watering. Survivor always throws a curve ball at you and all of a sudden, it’s like you are out in the middle of nowhere, where you are not used to it and you get this (points to his eye).” To his tribe, he said the episode’s title quote: “You have to suck it up and survive.”
Baylor empathized with the Broadway performer: “Ah! Josh’s eyes are so red and I hope that I don’t get what he has because it looks awfully painful. Now, he can’t even open them so not a good sign three days in.”

Josh realized it could have come from a plant. Nadiya agreed so the tribe removed all the leaves that they had used to make their roof.

Alec solo: “So, we’re figuring that the leaves we used for our roof have some kind of poison sap. So, we are working to remove that and get that away from our camp. We have poisonous sap, scorpions and there could be a puma running around here that I don’t know about. There are dangers that are far from anything I know in Florida around here.”

Let’s keep in mind that Baylor and Josh were on screen when Alec told us about the dangers lurking. It would be quite interesting to see if the pair eventually backstabs young Alec.


The tribe got a visit from the Howler Monkeys. Jon tried to engage a “conversation” with them.

Jon in confessional: “I’ve always been a goof ball but I have a lot more depth to me than it would appear. Nobody here knows what is going on at home. Basically, in February, they found that my dad had a tumor in his brain... It’s not curable. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it obviously, I think I’m cried out about it. Knowing that my dad and I don’t have much longer to be together, it was very hard to make the decision to come out. But my dad is a big fan of Survivor and I wouldn’t have come without his blessings. I just hope that I can watch it with him and hope that I can make him proud out here.”

Those were two personal moments put one after the other to endear the players to the audience. It’s always good for a winner’s story to show their injuries. Over the years, many injuries have been ignored if the player getting them turned out to be unimportant so the eye irritation is a good sign for Josh’s longevity. Jon words also could be a sign that he will go far because we heard that he wants to make his father proud. That could be Jon’s journey.

The Immunity Challenge

Val and Keith received a nice greeting.
The first part of the challenge indicated that Jon and Wes were the two fastest out there as they were the first to finish the crawl race.

Jeff noted that Alec got hurt but we didn’t see how.
Rocker’s height came in handy when he put Baylor on his shoulder. She quickly untied all three bags, giving an early lead to Coyopa. Hunahpu had to use Natalie, Julie and Kelley for the task.

Quite stupidly, Rocker started throwing the ball instead of using the rope to get more leverage. He was lucky to see Keith’s technique which he quickly adopted, keeping Coyopa in the lead. Hunahpu had to switch pitcher as Drew took over and finally got the ball in the Y-shaped hook.

Running up the wall, Jeff noted that Jaclyn was “tentative” He added: “You cannot be tentative.”

Coyopa used Rocker as a human ladder to climb the third wall and get to their puzzle first.

As a note, Josh, Dale, Jaclyn and Alec worked on the puzzle for Coyopa while Kelley, Reed, Jon and Julie did it for Hunahpu. Coyopa’s first attempt didn’t fit and neither did Hunahpu’s. Coyopa started over but reached an impasse again. Hunahpu figured it out first and won immunity. During their cheers, I listened to find out who would get the credit, but all I could make out was a “good job, Julie”. That wasn’t enough to say if she was indeed the one that found the solution. It was presented as a team win. Jeff handed the idol to Natalie who wasn’t part of the puzzle team so she seemed to hand it off, probably to the person she felt was their MVP but the camera didn’t stay with her. It looked like she was passing it to someone on Reed’s left though and that’s where Kelley was standing.

Jeff then asked Missy how she felt seeing that her daughter was in danger. Missy said it was tough but she knew Baylor was tough and would pull through. Natalie also told Jeff that it was tough.

Once more, we are establishing the bond between mother and daughter as if it will turn out to be the one that will be stressed the most. Maybe we do have a repeat of what happened to Laura and Ciera or it’s just a tease.

As they left, Dale had a confessional: “It could very well be me going home. I would be surprised because I am the only one that can make fire, but I am the oldest guy of this damn bunch so you never know what’s going to happen.”

What will happen now Dale? Jeff gave flint to your tribe so are you still needed?


It was interesting to see that the victorious tribe wasn’t ignored after their victory. When they walked into camp, Natalie was holding the idol so we still don’t know if anyone was considered their MVP.

Keith had a confessional: “I just rejoined my original tribe. First thing we did was the challenge and boom! Won that. Then, to come out here and see what they accomplished, it seems like they worked together. That’s a good thing. I didn’t know what to expect and I kind of worked my way in to this tribe, Since I’ve been gone, I’m going to try to slip in, to fit in a little bit, just now figuring out their names. I knew Jeremy and that was about it.”

It seemed that it was all he needed to know because we soon saw the two men together.

Jeremy, talking to Keith in private: “I wanted to talk to you because I owe you anyways... I pulled you out and I’m going to get you back in.”

Jeremy in confessional: “I saw Val, she told me she was alright so I knew Keith took care of Val. I don’t know how far that will take him but I feel I owe him something.”

Keith also had a confessional: “I got Jeremy kind of half-way on my side. I would think he’s a firefighter, I’m a firefighter, I mean firefighting is a brotherhood. Now the other seven; I have no idea about. Give me a day or two and we’ll figure all this out, see what happens.”

That was a very good segment for Keith. He slipped into the main alliance of the tribe but he isn’t totally blind to Jeremy’s game, knowing he is only half-way on his side. Hearing him say that he will figure it out is great for someone that could have been presented as a dumb player.


Josh and Rocker welcomed Val to the camp but it didn’t take long for Val to explore the area.

Val in confessional: “After losing, immediately I’m thinking that I haven’t been playing the game and my game may be over so as soon as I knew where the well was, which was part of my idol clue, that’s where I was going. I have got to find this idol.”
Back in camp, Dale asked “Natalie” to compare this to the Amazing Race. After correcting him on her name, Nadiya said that the main difference was the Amazing race tells you exactly what to do.

Dale in confessional: “Nadiya is a known element. She has been on the Amazing Race. She’s shown that she can backstab somebody. So, the rest of the tribe I don’t know about that. Nadiya; she’s proven it, we’ve watched it.”

He gathered the men and said that, while she’d be an easy target, he wanted to give Val a chance. Alec was quick to bring up Nadiya’s name. Dale agreed, saying that she U-turned people on the Amazing race.

Josh had a confessional: “Dale and the guys think that Nadiya should be the first one to go because she was on the Amazing Race. Of course, you say yes and then Nadiya approached me a couple of minutes later. I mean; anybody that comes to me I’m like “Thank God! You are coming to me” I wanted to be that person in this game; that was one of my goals: To be the person that people are coming up to me and saying I want to work with you.” That’s when Nadiya told Josh that she was counting him as one of the girls. Josh laughed but his confessional continued: “Nadiya said: “I was counting you as one of the girls”. My boyfriend can tell you that’s one of the worst things you can say to me but I don’t blame her. People stereotype people all the time so I am keeping my options open right now. I feel like I have a lot of choices.”

Meanwhile, Val gathered the women, saying she was on the chopping block so she wanted to make history by making an all-girls alliance. They agreed and Nadiya had a confessional to say that they had to stick together. She told the other women that they could have Josh on their side. Dale’s name came up as soon as Baylor asked for the name of someone they didn’t need because they would get fire that night.

Baylor gave us a confessional: “The plan is to vote Dale out because we don’t think he’s helpful (Right then, Dale was shown carrying a heavy load of vegetation, somewhat contradicting Baylor) in the challenges. If I don’t go with the women, I would definitely do what Josh is doing. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet about what his plans are, but I kind of want to hear from him first.”

Baylor told Josh the women were voting against Dale so he asked her what she wanted to vote. She simply said “with you.” He told her the guys were voting against Nadiya.

Baylor wanted to vote with Josh but little did she know he wasn’t going to vote with her!

Josh in confessional: “There’s a lot up in the air tonight and I do feel that a lot of that weight is on me. I think that I’m right in the middle between the guys’ alliance and the girls’ alliance. Being a fan of the show, this is a big deal but it is ultimately which one is going to take me furthest in the game. Sometimes, people with the swing vote end up in the worst position so I don’t know if I am going to really decide before Tribal Council which one I am going to go with.”

Tribal Council

John agreed with Jeff when he said that that the game moves quickly. John added that the blue team was probably having a fiesta while they had to vote someone out. He said the vote was tough because there wasn’t the obvious jerk to eliminate.

Jaclyn’s smile kind of hinted that she thought there was a jerk!

Asked about the vibe of the tribe, Nadiya told Jeff that they have been getting along really well, that they weren’t ready for this decision but that she learned to make the best of the situation.

Jeff equated that to making lemonade out of lemons but Nadiya preferred making Margueritas.

Jeff asked Josh if he agreed with her optimistic outlook.
Josh said it was vital to keep the positive spirit.

Nadiya told Jeff that Survivor was not like the Amazing Race at all.

Val told Jeff that her situation was stressful. She added that Exile had its blessings also, hinting that she found something.
Jaclyn told Jeff that the guys bonded well, particularly John, Wes and Alec.

Dale agreed that his age made him a target that it was tough to find things to talk about with the others. He told Jeff that he proved his worth to the tribe by making fire.

Asked who was at the center of the discussions, Wes said that Josh was the most liked member of the tribe.

That made the actor smile. Baylor also smiled in agreement.
Nadiya also agreed with that because Josh could go between the girls and the boys.

The smile briefly disappeared from Josh’s face.

Josh said that he didn’t believe it was four girls against four guys with him in the middle but that it could be.

After collecting the urn, Jeff asked if anyone had an idol to play. We saw Val looking down at her bag but she didn’t have any idol to show.

Dale received 3 votes, Baylor, surprisingly, got one, the 5 others going to Nadiya who probably set a record by being the first one eliminated on two different Reality series.

After snuffing Nadiya’s torch Jeff said: “I think the message is clear: You’re 0 for 2 in challenges, a third of the tribe received votes. This tribe is still finding itself. You got to pick it up.”
The camera was directly on Josh when he said that.

The Story

In Blood versus Water’s first edition, Tyson’s emotions after seeing his girlfriend get eliminated were presented as a major factor in his victory. We will once again see events that “test the core of human emotions” and the drama should revolve around our long term players. We will probably see the emotions of the players eliminated early only in their last few days on the show to leave room for the long term stories. Therefore, we should look at the players that have already established an emotional connection with the viewers to determine who should be around for a while.

The Characters

At least, these Players still have a pulse (while one or two of them could see their story pick-up in the upcoming episodes and make them long term players, their emotionless premiere wasn’t a good sign):
After the introduction, we didn’t hear from Jaclyn and we know from Jeff that you can,t be tentative in this game. The events have put her in the minority on her tribe so she could very well be leaving early. There certainly wasn’t any investment made in Miss Michigan.

Julie: We found out very little about Julie. She was part of the four person team that completed the puzzle, we heard a “good job, Julie” so she may be seen as someone that was valuable by her tribe but, as far as we know, she wasn’t part of Jeremy’s five person alliance. However, did Jeremy wait for Keith to return to find his fifth or was there a mystery member in that group? Jeremy already has brains in his alliance so he’d need more muscle than Julie can bring. Julie’s presentation and her position in the tribe could lead to an early exit.

Drew: He had one confessional but it was mostly about his job as a model and his work on the shelter. Since it was presented after Jeremy had made his alliance, it gave the impression that Drew didn’t know this game very well. Watching his scene, I thought he should have spent his energy building an alliance first, the shelter next if he wanted to enjoy the fruits of his labour for a while. He could very well be the muscle that Jeremy uses though and then he’d become disposable.

Alec: Like Drew, Alec only had a brief confessional and that one told us that he wasn’t used to the dangers of the Nicaraguan jungle. Showing Josh and Baylor on screen while he said that made me think that Alec should forget the scorpions and the pumas and concentrate on the truly dangerous creatures out there, the ones that can vote.

Reed: Despite a great start, Reed was mostly a non-factor once separated from Josh. His only confessional was a narration about the beach and the work to be done. We will have to see if he becomes Hunahpu’s narrator which could give him longevity in the story but, for now, it doesn’t look very promising.

The one-note players (These players were given a role in the story but we didn’t really connect with them.)

John: There was some good news and some bad news for John after seeing how he was presented. The fact that he only had a small role tells us he probably isn’t in immediate danger. He could still go up in flames in the next episodes but, being the “star” of the season means the editors will make a big case of his exit and there was nothing to indicate that will come soon. The bad news was that such a light edit means he won’t be the story of the season. The only emotion shown by John was his fear of getting recognized and voted out. His paranoia could serve him well but we know that Wes isn’t an immediate threat to him. Despite the loss, John was quite useful in the first challenge so, with Coyopa being down one member, he should be safe. As a type A with a capital A personality, we have to say that he didn’t show any arrogance (yet) or any desire to lead his tribe at all cost which is very good for him.

Wes: His own father says he is as mentally strong as a rock so we can’t expect much from Wes. His position in the main alliance should keep him safe for a while but, like John, the story won’t be about him.

Natalie, Kelley and Missy: None of them showed us a lot of emotions but they were all part of Jeremy’s alliance so they each have a role to play in the story. It will be interesting to see Natalie’s reaction when she sees that her twin is gone. Could it lead to Jeff’s quote from the previews: “So, you want to quit”? I doubt it but it has been established that the sisters are always together. Now, Natalie is on her own so it will be interesting to see how she copes. Kelley could also find herself without a loved one soon so we should hear from her about her father’s chances but we didn’t in the premiere. Missy is in an alliance and so is her daughter so the game is set-up for a clash between the two.

The Players showing Emotions (this group should include our main contenders and one or two that will leave early)

Dale: The farmer received a very interesting edit. We saw him making fire. We heard him talk about his precarious position, we saw him thinking about using a fake idol to fool his tribe and we saw him directing the conversation that led to Nadiya’s elimination. Right now, he is in the guys’ alliance but the numbers tell us they could lose a member and still control the vote. With all the challenges that require women to compete against women, it’s dangerous to go down to 2 members so soon so maybe the vote will turn against Dale. If Hunahpu gets a nice numbers advantage then Dale could make it to the merge and become a very dangerous player because he wouldn’t be seen as a threat.

Val: It was somewhat of a disappointing episode for Val. Her tribe was going to face tribal council but we spent more time with Keith during their stay on Exile Island. The events dictated that we would see a lot of her so we can’t take her amount of airtime as an indication of longevity. Jeremy was the one showing most of the emotions so, while it was nice to see Val’s resolve, he should be the one outlasting the police woman.

Jon: He had a very intriguing presentation, one that could be described as the “sad clown”. In camp, we heard him making one joke after the other, even teasing the howler monkeys to make his tribe laugh. In private, he told us about his dad and his terminal illness. That is Blood versus water on a whole different level. I’m sure we all wished that they were indeed watching this together so that connected him strongly to the viewers. However, we didn’t see anything about his game. Jeremy said that the tribe needed strength so we can assume that Jon is safe for now but he doesn’t appear to be in the main alliance.

Baylor: What an interesting edit she received! When we saw her being frightened by the howler monkeys, I figured she would have trouble coping with the conditions but the camera work during Alec’s confessional put her in the predator category! Then Dale contradicted her when his method proved to be the better one at making fire. We saw her directing the conversation that led the women to target Dale then we saw her talking to Josh and telling him she wanted to vote with him. The votes told us that she did flip on the women only to allow Josh to create some confusion when he voted against Baylor! How will she react at that stray vote? The women will know she voted against Nadiya so she is forced to stay with the guys but one of them voted against her and she probably won’t know which one. I really hope they present the game from her perspective because it will show the intricacies of the game, how someone never knows who they can trust.

Josh: Here, we have a player. His eye injury brought him to our attention and then his strategy piqued our interest. Will we get an explanation for his stray vote? If he did it to put some panic in his ally so that she would depend on him even more, then he is a genius. If he reveals it to everyone or gets exposed for being duplicitous, then he is a klutz! Since we heard Jeff say that he is a true fan of the show then he should be able to pull it off and continue to be the players that attracts the others, that gets their trust. We already know he has an excellent social game so we could very well be looking at our winner. The only problem was that Hunahpu seemed to be the tribe of interest, the one the cameras showed first as if to attract our attention.

Keith: For someone that could have been presented as a country bumpkin, our other firefighter showed to be a very shrewd man. He knew that he could only trust Jeremy half-way but he did manage to wiggle his way into the main alliance. His presentation on Exile Island overshadowed Val who was herself presented as a character worth our attention. When Natalie said that everyone loves a firefighter, she was talking about Jeremy but it could turn out that Keith is the one that gets all the “love” in the end.

Jeremy: The Prom King was the player of the episode, winning the reward challenge for his team, crying over the twist that sent his wife to Exile Island, rallying the women of his tribe around him in a solid alliance and paying his debt to Keith by getting him his alliance. Like Josh, Jeremy seems to be the most liked and trusted player on his tribe. If Hunahpu can keep or even increase its numbers advantage, then Jeremy could be in an ideal position to win this game.

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Georganna 367 desperate attention whore postings
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09-27-14, 09:30 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Bravo! Thoughtful, articulate, meticulous, comprehensive, entertaining and eye-opening.

I always feel as though I've just visited Survivor - backstage - after reading one of your weekly reviews.

Thank you!

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09-28-14, 02:09 PM (EST)
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8. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Hooray! My favourite Survivor post-episode write-up, The Characters and Their Stories penned by the always-insightful Michel (and her Flowery contributor) returns with a vengeance!

Gracias, Danke, Merci, etc...

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09-29-14, 02:33 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
What fun, thanks Michel! Who's going to be Copoya's narrator now, I wonder if Nadiya got the air time because of her TAR experiences and she was a familiar face. I wonder if they did that to get their hype's worth from the twinnies? Either way she's gone and it will be interesting to see who comes through as the voice of Copoya. If no one, then you may be correct in assuming that whole tribe is a wash. I hope not, I need some mystery until the merge.

Well done and thanks for your insights.

I should be watched....closely.

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10-01-14, 06:17 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Thank you, Georgianna, Tyrone and Suzzee. I hope to read your impressions also.
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09-30-14, 12:44 PM (EST)
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12. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Thanks for all your work, michel. I love reading your reviews and assessments and you always amaze me with your insights!

I think that this season could very well turn out as the last B v W did in that once one of the pairs is out, the other person is perhaps not considered as threatening to move beyond. So, perhaps in my assessments, I will emphasize the person within the pair that I see having more substance. Sometimes though, it's harder to decipher who is important to the short term story vs. the long term one, especially in the beginning.

We did start out on the helicopter with first glimpses of some, then an intro on each pair. Jon and Jacklyn, clearly Jon got the sound byte, I would venture to say that he will be the one to outlast from this pair. Jacklyn, miss Michigan, is just for show, lol.

Next came John and Julie...he makes his case, and she makes hers. While she says she is independent, I bet she will be the one to get to prove it, most likely outlasting him, just as Monica outlasted her alpha male.

Then we had Missy and Baylor. I would place more money on the one that had to be maternal, Baylor.

Alec and Drew followed, with noting their sibling rivalry. My money is on the younger brother.

Next were Kelly and Dale, the farmer and his daughter. She got 2 sound bytes, she is younger and making her own way, I would bet on her outlasting him.

Josh and Reed were next and they had by far the most positive clip, making fire and catching crabs. They are players. Of the two, Josh was shown to speer the crab, he could be the one to outlast.

Then Jeremy and Val with their job rivalry. Clearly, Jeremy had a million dollar quote. My money is on him to outlast her.

Next were the twinnies noting that they have only been apart about 2 weeks in their lives...knowing they will be placed on different tribes will not be good for them...I don't know which one will do better?

Finally, we had Keith and Wes, the firefighters. Keith really seems quite salty and cutting...he's definitely going to be comic relief or is there a little villain in him? I don't know, but he does seem more of the character than Wes.

I whole-heartedly agree with your initial assessments of the intros, michel, on their neutrality, positive or negative. I do want to note however that the negative ones may not necessarily be bad for the couple as well. Just as Cirie was introduced to us as someone that couldn't get off the couch, and someone that was afraid of a LEAF, she certainly showed growth! LOL! So, cannot discount someone making a negative first impression! I also felt that Keith will be the comic relief, salty character of the season. I concur with the most positive first impressions going to Jeremy and Val and Reed and Josh. They had very very positive intros, and look like contenders.

Excellent catch on Jeremy striking the pose!

Then they arrive in the arena area, Jeremy loses on the rock/paper/scissors and is ready to go, then to find out it's his wife that he is competing against. She is game on, he "smokes" her and wins, sending her to EI, then he chooses Keith to accompany her.

We see them arrive first at their camp, Reed gets the initial confessional on arriving, and then Jeremy has a meaty confessional regarding his mixed feelings and how emotional he is at sending her to a bad place...thus the crux of the theme, having a real bond with a family member on the show elevates the emotions so much more, so much that it makes you consider playing a different type of game than if you didn't have a loved one with you...then, Jeremy has a significant quote and plan, "I have a good rapport with women, I get along with women so it’s time to go balls to the walls; it’s time to play.” Then we immediately see him go off to make alliances with the women....Kelly, Missy, Natalie. Done. He has a plan and he puts it in action. I'd say he is an alpha male and is going out to hand pick his tribe of followers. Is he playing a Tom Westman kind of game?

Later he adds the "old" man to the group, his fellow firefighter that went with his wife out to exile....sounds good, but I can't help but to think the alliances shown will rarely work's a start.

Great catch, Michel on the musical introductions to the tribes. Upbeat and lively for Honeypoo, while a bit more serious at Coyopa....interesting. Clearly makes you think that Coyopa will have the struggles and perhaps more conflict and losses. Foreshadowing.

I agree that Nadiya was the narrator and it was on purpose that the confessional noting the age differences was placed here...clearly, the older will be siding together, while the younger do as least that was my take. Then we get Dale's perspective as the very oldest, and he most prove himself. We see him going to the water and removing the decoration, clearly could be something to help or hurt him in the future, but he is a player and he's thinking. I like it! He ends up starting fire and proving his worth, and then later he makes a great target of Nadiya by noting her aggressive game play in AR. He is a force imo, but will the younger ones embrace him or look at him as a threat moving forward? Time will tell, but in the first episode, he was one of the stars on Coyopa, imo.

This tribe definitely has the characters. Josh does have a good social game and Baylor is a stand out, now that we know Nadiya is gone I would bet that Baylor or Josh plays the narrator? John will be interesting and I am sure controversial.

Next we had Val and Keith on EI. Val getting the clue and not sharing it....really? For the life of me I cannot think why she wouldn't. Making an ally on the other tribe can really help you in your future. What a dumb move, imo. And, soon everyone will know there are clues to be had to the HII on EI. Really stupid move on Val's part, imo. Keith appeared dumb to me, for not recognizing a clue when he partially sees one....really, he bought it was something to do back at her camp? Now who is the one that is mentally like a rock? Keith is going to be comic relief, imo...He did find out that Jeremy is a firefighter though, and we see the wheels turning there to get him an in later. Clearly, I also believe Keith is going to be around for a while!

Next we go back to Honeypoo where Drew is building the shelter and has the "I was a model in Europe" confessional. The shelter does look like a good one to me, maybe he is there to be a survivor? Then the confessional from Julie, calling him a young, dumb guy...will she be able to manipulate him, because she thinks she sees him for what he is? I don't know but I got the impression she will. Could these two be a conflict on the show?

Then we go back to Coyopa and Wes recognizes John Rocker. I look at Wes now as I did Woo with Cliff. John has a nice confessional asking Wes to keep it under his hat, if not, he may consider voting Wes out, just as the other baseball player from Cochran's winning season voted out the girl that recognized him...

Next we have the drama with Josh's eyes swelling up...I loved how you noted that Alec telling Josh about the dangers around the camp could be foreshadowing that Baylor and Josh could eventually vote him out and apparently end up being far more dangerous than those that he listed!

I don't know why else this scene was left in there, other than it really happened and Josh was able to take it in stride and to problem solve to effectively resolve the problem. Proving he's a real survivor?

I have to say I do like Jon, I loved his character, easy going, trying to have fun, seemingly making the most of the situation with a light heart, then having his confessional about his dad...clearly he could be a journey player, or he could have something to prove. I like his chances as a long term player.

Regarding the IC: Yes, Wes and Jon were scramblers, John R was able to adapt, I saw that as a positive, and Jacklyn being tentative was clearly a negative. (especially in contrast to her fast boyfriend, Jon). Kudo's to the puzzle participants for Honeypoo, clearly winning the game....Jon, Kelly, Julie, and Reed. Then Missy gets called out, I do have a premonition that these two could be just like Cierra and her mom, Laura, from the last B v W...maybe they will both make it to the merge?

I agree that the cameras went to the winning tribe first to see how Keith assimilated back into his tribe. I felt it was all about Keith. Keith has legs!

Now the pre TC drama at Coyopa. Dale mentions Nadiya's game in the AR, and when the guys are altogether, Alec brings it up. Then we see Nadiya come to Josh and tell him that she sees him as one of the girls, and Josh tells us later that that is the worst thing you could say to him....then we see Val wanting to make history with an all girls alliance. Clearly this is setting up Josh as the swing vote, and then at TC he alludes to it, which I do not see as a smart move. Josh was extremely perplexing to me. We have Baylor coming to him after the fact to tell him that she wants to be with him. Clearly he most have told her that he was voting for Nadiya, as she did. Then he ends up voting for Baylor....I clearly don't get that. The one girl that is seemingly in his pocket and he throws her a vote. If Baylor confides to the guys that she voted for Nadiya with them, then they will figure it out, that Josh's vote was not with them....throwing up red flags. I don't know why Josh wouldn't commit to either side, or was it that he didn't want to have a hand on voting out someone he did like? We'll have to see.

I also thought when Josh confided that he needed to go with the group that would be best for his game, were the boys really better for his game? I don't know?

Here are my take on the players and definitely I will compare them with their loved ones because I do tend to think that it will go the way of the first, that once a member of a pair is out, the other remaining person will probably last a while, at least they will have a better chance to make the merge.

Under the radar at this point, and then a positive or a negative vibe for them:

1. Jacklyn, Miss Michigan. Clearly practically nothing from her. On the wrong side of the numbers at Coyopa, and also a negative call out from Jiffy in the IC. Definitely think that Jon has it all over Jacklyn.

2. Alec: Of the two brothers I am kind of rooting for Alec as the younger, underdog. He's calling out dangers to the tribe, not recognizing Josh and Baylor could be the most threatening. On the right side of the numbers in his tribe.

3. Wes: Calling out John Rocker in private, saying something to the others about it. A sidekick perhaps? Between his Dad and him, my money is on dad!

4. Drew: The model turned shelter builder. Not much to go on at the moment. On the winning tribe.

5. Reed: Really nothing of substance, yet. Shown to be a survivor in the intro clips. Maybe his time will come?

6. Julie: really only one comment that had to do with John R, and assessing Drew. I do think she will outlast her counterpart.


7. and 8. Nadiya and Natalie: They are so much alike, I really can't discern between the two. As prior stars in AR and AR All-Stars, they are celebrities in this season. Now that Nadiya is out already, I see Natalie as a longer term player.

9. John Rocker: Julie tells us he is an alpha with a capital A, and he tells us his background as well. He kept a low profile like he said he wanted to in the first episode, but we already know that the cat is already out of the bag, and the preview teases tell us that he's coming into the spot light in the next episode. John R is definitely going to be a big target, and as long as he's in the game, peeps will have a mighty fine shield. How long will they tolerate him? Clearly, he will never make end game.

10. Keith: I see him as a LONG term player. Clearly he's a character. He will definitely outlast his son, Wes. He's salty, not too observant, but he does have a plan. Could he be a villain? Perhaps, I don't know quite yet. He's going to do something that is the worst thing in Survivor history, can't wait to see what it is!

Players with longer potential:

11. Kelly: I almost put her in the under the radar group but she was the first one that Jeremy asked to be with him. She was one of the ones that completed the puzzle first. I think she will outlast her father, Dale.

12. Dale: While he was definitely one of the stars of the first episode, I think he will be out far before his daughter, Kelly. He showed that he knew he would be in trouble as the oldest and probably one of the least physical. But, he proved his worth by breaking his glasses and making fire. He also got the credit for moving the target to Nadiya. As michel notes though, now that they have fire, will he still be so vital to the tribe? We know, as Nadiya pointed out that the tribe will be divided into younger and older. My money is on the younger to outlast.

13. Val: She is a player but seems to be making all the wrong moves imo. She lost the RC, went to EI, got the clue, but didn't share it. When she returned she made bee line to the water area to look for the HI, probably not too inconspicuously! Then she wants to make history with an all girls alliance that failed. She is not going to be long for this game, imo. Jeremy appears to be a star, Val appears to be heading for a much earlier demise, imo.

14. Baylor: She is a player, and we are seeing her. She recognizes another player, Josh, as her number one. She has legs, imo. I do foresee a similar place as Laura and Cierra had....perhaps they can both make the merge.

15. Missy: See Baylor above. She is in the majority alliance, seems like a good player. No reason to see her in danger for a while.

16. Josh: Definitely a star in the first episode. Shown to be a Survivor with his BF in the intro. Able to tolerate an allergic reaction with his eyes. Wanted to be "that guy" that everyone goes to, and apparently was. Wanted to choose the side that would benefit his game the most so voted for Baylor? Surely didn't get that, but still a star in the first episode.

17. Jon: I loved this guy. Rolled with the flow, good sense of humor, seems very likable, on the winning tribe, definitely a challenge horse....and, he has substance and may be on a journey with his father having Cancer. Clearly, he will out last his GF, could he win? He seems more layed back than Jeremy...hmmm. If he ends up in an alliance with Jeremy, which I would bet he does, he could win.

18. Jeremy: The star and hero of the show. Definitely an alpha....volunteering to do the first RC, then being emotional about it. Actively recruiting hand picked recruits to align with. Yes, he's in the drivers seat, and Michel noted a very powerful image with Jiffy asking who will claim the million dollar quote. He could be a serious player and he could win.

Here are my picks to outlast their partners:

Natalie, Baylor, Josh, Julie, Kelly, Alec, Keith, Jon, Jeremy

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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09-30-14, 11:33 PM (EST)
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13. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
LAST EDITED ON 09-30-14 AT 11:35 PM (EST)

Very interesting read, FP. I see you are even harsher on Val than I was but I do agree with everything you said about her. Your comments made me realize that she knew Keith would have a bond with her husband so sharing the clue with him could have indirectly helped Jeremy. Then she goes for the women's alliance, not even talking to Wes who is also a firefighter and therefore a potential ally. Big mistakes.

As for Josh, you don't think he voted against Baylor to scare her, to make her depend on him even more? I think he can convince her that dale was the one that voted against her. I saw Baylor as a possible dumb player. Like Ciera, she will be interesting but will kill her own game.

Finally, I don't believe we will end up with 9 singletons at F9. Remember, the couples alliance in the first BvW mostly failed because Aras stupidly voted Laura who came back and still considered going with the couples. Now, with 18 players and a very possible merge at 12 that means that, at most, 6 couples will be broken up, maybe less. That means a 12 person merger is certain to have at least 3 couples, an immediate voting bloc. They could very well take over the game.

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10-01-14, 08:52 AM (EST)
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14. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Hi michel! Thanks for the feedback, I always appreciate it. Regarding, I just don't know. I would be worried that she will talk to the other guys and therefore someone will find out that one of the guys was not with them. The first vote is always the scariest, I think, because you don't know who you can trust, and if people will indeed vote the way they say they are voting. Once people vote with you, I think it's a start on building trust and finding those you can count on.

Josh had someone that may not be the brightest person in the tribe, as you note, but she was clearly coming to him as someone she identified as wanting to work with more than any other person. He had a back pocket girl. And, to vote against her didn't make sense to me.

The guys initially won't worry too much who voted for Baylor, but Baylor will certainly worry about it, and forming a girls alliance, I would bet the girls will all want to get to the bottom of it too. The girls will assume that one of them voted for Baylor. So, I don't know, I suppose I would be too worried that others would find out about Josh's vote, and then it would expose to the others that he didn't vote with the guys, nor did he say what he was going to do, and he voted against the one person that seemingly was definitively with him. Risky.

It will be interesting how that unfolds and what comes out or what doesn't. Potentially, this could wake Baylor up...?

I definitely do agree that we will not end up with all 9 singletons. I was just venturing as to which one in the couple would outlast the other, from assessments after the first episode. I see Josh and Drew having a good chance to make the merge together as Missy/Baylor, maybe the Christy Brothers? This could get interesting! It would take guts for all of them to disengage from their original alliance mates, but it would really be interesting.... In a game of trust in others to get you to a certain point, how do you re-assimilate back in to a game with your loved one? The crux of the show...

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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10-01-14, 07:40 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
"how do you re-assimilate back in to a game with your loved one?"

Maybe they do like Tina in season 2 like one of our RHAP bloggers proposed:

To sum up: After Hatch had made everyone think that this game was made for villains, Tina convinced everyone that they had to show that "nice people" could win. Likewise, with Tyson's win showing that BvW favors the single players, someone could set out to prove that couples could also win and convince enough couples to go along.

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10-03-14, 01:46 PM (EST)
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19. "RE: Everyone Loves a Firefighter"
Finally, we caught up with the father, son team of firefighters as they struggled to make fire. Jeff said: “While Keith is nearing retirement, he is not yet ready to pass the torch to his son, Wes.” We heard that Wes lost the striker to make fire. Wes said that it was his time to shine but dad disagreed, adding: “You are about as mentally strong as that rock.”

That seems like an odd quote to include in a season where they are emphasizing how connected loved ones are, but I've wondered it it's foreshadowing. Didn't Keith and Wes break their flint--on a rock? Jeff commented that it's nearly impossible to break a flint--but they did. Maybe Wes is like that rock that doesn't look mentally strong and foreboding, but was able to break their flint.

I've seen a lot of posts discounting Wes. Is there any reason for this besides looks and stigma? He is fast (first of his tribe through 1st IC) and seems strong but able to stay under the radar. I thought it was interesting that his dad blamed him for losing the striker and then someone else on Keith's tribe is blamed for losing the flint. Maybe Keith, a firefighter is secretly trying to prevent fires from being started.

I'm a long time lurker who contributed a few times many years ago, but I don't have that e-mail account anymore and can't remember my name and password from back then.

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09-28-14, 04:26 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Do we know if Jon's father is still alive? That could affect how much screen time he gets. If the father died while Jon was on the island, they're going to milk that for all it's worth.
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DAW Level: "Beauty Pageant Celebrity Judge"

09-29-14, 11:30 AM (EST)
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10. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Check out this tweet from Jon:

I'd say his dad is alive and well.

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10-02-14, 03:15 AM (EST)
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17. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
So he lied to us?
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10-02-14, 11:49 AM (EST)
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18. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Not necessarily - it's been a few months since the show was filmed so plenty of time for a recovery. The tweet above about the dentistry bit was on Aug. 25, so nothing conclusive about timelines.

His latest tweets show that his father is still fighting:

(from Sept. 27)
"Want to say thank you to everyone who has given supportive words about my dad. He's still fighting, and we're enjoying our time w him..."

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10-04-14, 02:27 PM (EST)
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20. "Episode2 The Assets:"
The recap reminded us of the important points seen in the premiere:
- We saw Baylor and Missy being scared by the Howler Monkeys.
- Jeremy and Val were forced to compete for reward because of the new twist with the loser heading to Exile Island.
- After winning, Jeremy chose Keith to join his wife.
- At Coyopa, relationships were already forming (we saw the exchange that led Wes to bust Rocker on his last name.)
- At Hunahpu, the tribe was getting all the details they could stomach. (we saw Drew saying: “Dude, I’m a (blank) genius » and we heard Julie saying that he’s just a dumb young guy.)
- At Exile Island, Val caught a break and got the biggest piece of information in the game: A clue to the idol.
- Hunahpu won the immunity challenge.
- Facing Tribal Council, it looked like it was the women (Baylor was heard putting the target on Dale) versus the men (Alec was the one shown pointing to Nadiya).
- A secret alliance between Baylor and Josh kept the vote up in the air. (Baylor was heard saying she wanted to vote with Josh while Josh told us he was in the middle of the guys and the girls)
- Then Jeff used these words to describe the vote: “At Tribal Council, Josh went rogue (we see his parchment with Baylor written on it) and Baylor voted for Nadiya, breaking apart the women’s alliance and leaving Val and Jaclyn all alone.”

It seems that these were the only important events of the premiere. We weren’t reminded of Wes and Keith’s problems with the flint, Jon’s concerns for his father or Jeremy’s alliance with Kelley, Missy, Natalie and Keith. While there is certainly time to revisit these stories, their absence from the recap has to make us consider that they weren’t as important as we thought. I must also note that Hunahpu wasn’t presented as the tribe of interest I thought it was. It was at Coyopa that “the relationships were already forming” while Hunahpu wasn’t credited with anything positive except for the challenge wins.

As for what was shown, I find it fascinating that the editors used the shelter building to paint Drew as a “dumb young guy.” From the press images, Hunahpu’s shelter looks very good so Drew should have been thanked for it. But then, it would have made it harder to show him as the dumb guy. I’m not saying he isn’t dumb but he does have skills that aren’t being presented.

In Coyopa, the two biggest players were shown front and center but it wasn’t as favorable as we thought for Josh. Jeff could have used many words to describe his vote but going rogue is very negative in a social game. I think it’s the start of a Villain’s story arc. We will have more indications of that in this episode. As for Baylor, she was presented as we expected: The tool that was used by Josh.

The Assets

Coyopa – Night 3

Arriving back at camp, Josh immediately pulled Baylor aside and revealed his vote: “Don’t get upset with me; there’s a method to my madness. I put your name down.” (Josh’s confessional was inserted here) “Tonight, I knew they were voting for Nadiya. I figured if I put your name down then there’s no way anything bad could happen. Do not be mad at me. (Baylor’s confessional was heard at this point) I’m so sorry for doing that to you but I feel like that actually made our alliance stronger.”

Josh’s confessional: “I voted for Baylor to further advance our alliance in this game. I don’t want the guys thinking that I was getting too close to Baylor, but I wanted to keep Baylor as an asset.

Baylor’s confessional: “Josh comes up to me. He explains to me that, apparently, it was a game move because he doesn’t want the guys to know that me and him are aligned. That was a smart move in a way but that was also sketchy and scary that he didn’t tell me before that he was going to write my name down. I really hope that I can trust him.”

For the second time, Josh had the title quote of the episode. When Baylor explained his move and said she still wanted to trust him gave me flashes of Trish and how she forgave Tony for all the sketchy and scary moves he did at her expense. As for Josh, I thought it would have been better for him to keep his vote a secret, that he would be dumb to tell Baylor about it but it was presented as “a smart move in a way” so that’s how we have to see it. However, as smart as it was, it did show Josh as being sketchy and making scary moves which describes the actions of a “Villain”. With respect to both the edit and the game, it is a bit early to be seen as sketchy and scary.

Hunahpu – Day 5

It’s seems that nothing happened in Nicaragua on Day 4 because we are already jumping ahead! A few more jumps like this and we will be at Day 39 by the end of October! It would all give us something new to do on Wednesdays which may not be a bad thing!

Reed showed his flexibility while Jon and Drew did some exercises to get ready for the challenge.

It led to Jeremy’s confessional: “We got Jon and we got Drew, and they are both like cartoon characters. Like, they are so crazy. I’m like: Are they listening to themselves? They are so happy and it’s like not real, you know what I am saying? Which for me is good because I know all the girls can’t stand them already.”

While Natalie confirmed Jeremy’s comment by saying that the weights that the guys were lifting wasn’t a big deal, Kelley seemed interested in the display of muscles.

Like Josh, Jeremy is seizing up his tribe and counting his assets. The difference between the two is that we heard that Jeremy is considered to be trustworthy and honorable while his targets are dumb players, not strong women like Nadiya and Val who, while they weren’t fan favorites, were appreciated by the viewers.

The scene changed when we heard Julie saying that they had lost their flint.
Kelley gave us a confessional: “I cannot believe that we lost our flint. Losing that is not good.”

It was soon established that Jon had the flint last so he gave us a confessional: “I learned that, if you are wrong, you admit it and you admit it emphatically so, not only do the people know: Not only does he know he’s wrong but he feels awful about it and he’s probably going to do a lot to make up for it. Is that accepted by everyone? I have no idea. I’m nervous about it, I’m very nervous about it.”

In the middle of the confessional, we heard Jon telling the tribe: “I feel like I’m J’Tia right now: Jon poured the rice in the fire, Jon lost the flint.” He then asked Keith if they needed flint to start a fire, to which Keith simply answered: “It helps.”

Compared to Drew, his fellow “dumb young guy” Jon shows us again that he has more depth. Jon should outlast Drew.

The Reward challenge

The camera focused on Natalie when she realized that Nadiya was gone. The tears soon followed. Missy and Julie, sitting next to her, tried to comfort her. Natalie told Jeff that she had always been with Nadiya.

Even if Jeff’s description told everyone that this wasn’t going to be a physical challenge, Rocker was quick to jump up, volunteering for his tribe and forcing Julie to compete for Hunahpu.

I smiled when John cracked his neck to get ready for the challenge like James used to do. Rocker will never be loved by the fans like China’s big man.

It was very satisfying to see slow-and-steady-Julie win against go-for-broke-John.

Julie wasn’t shown dropping her ball once but fell behind John a few times despite Rocker’s multiple restarts. What I found interesting was that Julie had at least one restart but it was edited out to make her look better. Look at the following vidcaps where she reaches the first pole at 9:06. Then, at 9:13 she is seen still a few feet away from that same pole. I don’t think it is an error in continuity where the editors simply mixed up the timing of the two scenes because in the first cap, Julie is holding her pole with one hand while she has both hands on it in the second like she did for the rest of the challenge. That means they intentionally cut the images where Julie dropped her ball. The same thing may have happened at the second pole which John was shown to reach first even if Julie had previously been well ahead of him. Could she have gone back to the start another time? I don’t know but what I do know is that hiding a player’s failure is always a very good sign for that player. We will have to see if there are more occasions like these for Julie. Maybe we will have to consider her as a contender despite her connection to John.

John didn’t smile when he saw that Julie had won. Instead, he showed his ignorance when Jeff asked how it felt to lose to his girlfriend: “Remove the friend part” he answered, “I am losing to a girl. I just got beat by a girl.”

Julie picked Jeremy to accompany John to Exile Island.

(She should have realized that, by sending the person who had just won the reward for his tribe, she was setting an example that could come back to haunt her. Now that she won a challenge, she could very well be the next Hunahpu designated to exile. Despite knowing in advance what would happen at the arena, Julie looked very troubled by the decision so that means the tribe hadn’t discussed the situation and how they should handle it. I think the tribes should determine who goes to Exile Island beforehand to avoid creating any fractures. If one of them has to go, it would be better to set turns in advance. They could use the old alphabet strategy and, like Sean, include a special clause: If you lose the reward challenge then we skip your turn because you already went to Exile Island once. It would be funny to see the return of that strategy!)

When Jeff told Hunahpu to pick up their fishing gear, Reed spoke up and asked if they could trade their bag of beans for a flint. Jeff found it funny that a tribe with 2 firemen would lose their flint but he thought half a bag of beans for flint was an uneven deal. He said they’d have to give up the whole fishing gear if they wanted flint. At first, the tribe said that they would do without flint but Jeff reminded them of the need to restart a fire after every rainstorm and that the payment would go up. Natalie and Kelley said they really needed the flint so they finally agreed to the trade.

Jon had a confessional: “Catching some fish would have been heavenly. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it because all we did was trade it for flint. Losing the flint was a pretty big mistake. It was my fault that we lost our chance at a fishing gear.”
Sally also made a big mistake in Panama when she lost the spear that could have helped La Mina catch some fish and Terry didn’t let her forget that she hurt the tribe but no one was heard blaming John. Is it the winning streak that made Hunahpu so forgiving? All I can say is that by not hearing anyone reinforcing the blame then the viewers are less likely to hold it against Jon.


Just like in the premiere, we went to Hunahpu first.

We saw Missy tying the flint to her belt and we clearly heard a “Good job, Julie” this time. We even saw Jon giving her a high five.

Natalia was then seen crying again which led to a confessional by Missy: “I would have said that there is no stronger bond than between a mom and a daughter but man! those twins. Hoo! It’s really touching to see a tough girl cry, I want to help her.”
Natalie in confessional: “Nadiya got voted out. She is probably fine but it’s just that we are not together. That’s the hard part. Now, it’s very good motivation for me to keep my head in the game and compete hard so that I can at least go as far as I can.”

The editors don’t miss a single occasion to remind us of the bond between Missy and Baylor so it has to surface in a big way somewhere down the line.


Alec, Wes, Dale, Josh and Val were talking about Rocker’s past. Dale asked if he was the guy that was run out of the league. The others weren’t sure but Dale said he thought that that it was Rocker that gave the interview about the minorities riding the subway in New York.

Josh in confessional: “Just because John does things that I don’t like, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work with him because I think that makes him more of an asset to be used because he’s pissing off so many people already that yes! I want him on my team.”

This confessional furthers sets up the Villain edit for Josh. Many viewers must have been repulsed by the idea that Rocker could be dragged to the end as a Goat. Josh shows good strategy but he isn’t doing it in a really honorable manner. He isn’t surrounding himself with likeable players.

Baylor pointed out: “John and Jeremy on Exile Island.” Someone agreed with her intent: “It better be a big damn island.” Val looked worried.

Exile Island

It was Jeremy that gave the confessional: “Exile Island is not a happy place...It’s not a good place to be. Plus, the icing on top is that I am stuck here with John Rocker. I know who he is: He used to pitch for the Braves and everything.” In the middle of that confessional, we saw the two men reach the urns where Jeremy picked the “lucky” parchment. Jeremy’s confessional continued: “They were playing against the Mets and he was talking about Black people, talking about homosexuals. I can’t remember exactly what he said but I remember he said racist things. I’m not saying that John Rocker is a racist but you will say stuff like that and it will follow you for the rest of your life. You can change. Yeah! Sure but it’s still going to follow you. Now, I need him to protect my wife so I’m going to try to buddy up to him a little bit.” The confessional was interrupted so that we could see Jeremy sharing the clue with the ex-pitcher and hear him saying: “You protect Val, I will protect Julie.” The confessional resumed: “I threw out: You protect Val and I will protect Julie and it will be good. I’m just trying to give Val time on her side to work some magic but if she’s voted out, Julie is gone right after.”

From an overhead shot, we heard John agreeing to the deal.

We have to realize that, even if Rocker was present, it was Jeremy that gave us the confessional. Not only that, we also had the famous helicopter shot that has been used to show the winner a few times (Earl, Parvati and Natalie come to mind) This tells us that Jeremy is indeed a key character this season. Most of his story revolved around Val so he could be lost without her but Val knows him best and she thinks that it will motivate him even more.

As for John, we can wonder if he didn’t just seal Julie’s fate by agreeing to this deal so quickly. Maybe he said he’d do everything he could but we only heard him say that it was a done deal. A smart player would have told Jeremy that Val was in trouble, that he would try his best to help her but that it may be an impossible task.

The Immunity Challenge

Josh showed some confidence (or was it arrogance?) when he said that they would take the idol.

Having to sit out one member, Hunahpu hesitated between Julie and Kelley, finally opting to sit the girlfriend.
In the first round, Jaclyn defeated Kelley. Dale was hurt by that result while we heard Kelley saying: “Dude, she’s big” which set up their rematch nicely.

After a rough start, Drew beat his younger brother while Wes beat Jeremy. Val left little doubt that she preferred winning immunity over seeing her husband beat the younger guy! When Natalie beat Val, Jeremy showed he was a good husband because he only gave golf claps.

The stage was set for the big match: Jon versus John. The football player showed which sport had tougher guys. He knew that “the low man always wins” so he went hard and fast for John’s legs.

Jon’s victory over Rocker will certainly get him many fans amongst the viewers.

Jeff asked Rocker about his bloody nose but the answer was bleeped. He took Jon’s shoulder right in the face so he could have a broken nose.

Still with only a 3-2 lead, Hunahpu hadn’t won yet. It’s interesting to consider that many challenges have been cut short over the years. Many rounds were not shown to save time or to manipulate a player’s presentation. (The most memorable one was the gross food challenge in Samoa that didn’t show Natalie’s failure.) So why did we have to see 4 more rounds after this great match-up? There had to be important things left to show and those included the mother-daughter confrontation (even if it was pitiful to watch) and Kelley’s revenge.

The Missy-Baylor match had a big set-up, both explaining they would imagine facing an ex to get the right motivation but, as soon as mom split her kid’s lip, Missy gave up and Baylor had no trouble winning the point on the restart.

When Reed went up against Josh, we heard Drew yelling “come on Josh”. Jon had to remind him that it was Reed that was on their team.

That cemented the “Dumb Player” edit for Drew. Was he telling us that we should root for Josh?!

Reed won for Hunahpu before Dale beat Keith to tie the score again.

It was set-up: The rematch between Kelley and Jaclyn would be for immunity. Dale couldn’t even look. He told Jeff that it was Kelley’s birthday but that he had to root for Jaclyn. The birthday girl turned it around and won the final point. She received the immunity idol and a pat on the ##### by Reed.

That’s two challenges that Kelley won for Hunahpu. Even if she hasn’t received a lot of airtime, we have to consider that her tribe appreciates her and that she is very determined when it comes to challenges. Those are good points for her story.
If I was playing the game, this challenge would have told me a lot about the people in my tribe. I wouldn’t want to have Missy or Dale in my alliance because I know they would betray it in favor of their daughters. Maybe the players have realized that they can’t count on the parents as long as the daughters survive on the other side.

As they headed out, Val had the kiss-of-death confessional: “Somebody from my tribe is going home tonight and I am in a tight situation because I don’t have an idol and Jaclyn is my one and only alliance but I am prepared to make big moves to make sure that I stay in this game.”

Coyopa – Day 6

Rocker showed his disappointment by throwing the Coyopa flag to the ground.

Dale had a confessional: “The challenge was a kick in the butt. I mean it was probably one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to watch. I couldn’t have been prouder of anybody in my life than Kelley. She never quit. She was down, her tribe was down. She gave her tribe the win and, unfortunately, it was the wrong tribe.”

This confessional gives Kelley her due. The viewers know that she is a strong challenge player even if it comes from her father. Winners always get compliments from their fellow competitors so Kelley has to be considered as a contender.

In the middle of this confessional, we saw Dale asking Jaclyn how she felt. With a laugh, Jaclyn said that she hated Kelley but that it was only in the moment and that she would get over it.

Could this little moment have an effect down the road? Maybe we heard Jaclyn say she’d get over it because she and Kelley will team up later on. Let’s keep it on the back-burner and revisit it if and when the two women wind up on the same tribe.

Next, we saw John talking to Val and Jaclyn as they were getting water at the well. He was telling the police officer that it was a pleasure hanging out with Jeremy. She told him that he must have received a clue. John said Jeremy got the clue but that he shared. Val, either using John’s ignorance of the game or showing her own, said that she found an idol on the island and one in camp, adding she’d use them to save herself and Jaclyn.

Val, in confessional: “Right now, I am in a tight situation because I don’t have an idol. I don’t have anything. I am just lying. I have no choice: I have to play big or I am going home so save yourself and find it.”

John then gave us his thoughts; “Val is claiming to have two idols and I’ve seen the clue so I think that, at this point, I have to get off my ##### and start looking for idols.” He took 7 paces north of the well and started digging. During his search, the music editor gave us a rhythmic theme but it wasn’t very dramatic. When John said “Bingo” I doubt that many viewers cheered for him. (At least it’s a “Steven Tyler idol”; the weaker type of idol that makes you think you have it made but “Dream on”!) His confessional continued: “I found, at least, an extra three days in the game. Wear it with pride. It tends to be that the athlete types always make it right before the merge and then they are gone so maybe I would love to save this until the 4th or 5th council play it and take myself through the merge. This has bought me some extra time. Now, I need to figure out a way to protect Val.”

The last part of his confessional made me think that John could be blindsided at the 3rd council which is the next one we will see. Now that would be funny!

Going to Josh and Wes, he told them that Val claimed to have two idols and that she would protect herself and Jaclyn. He said they could put 3 votes on Val and three on Baylor. Josh seemed to have his doubts but he simply said that they had to keep them from knowing that Baylor was getting three votes.

John took another walk to the well with Val which got everyone’s attention. Of course, John told Val that she would get three votes and that Baylor was also getting three. He added that he was fulfilling his promise to Jeremy by telling her this.

John in confessional: “I did make a promise to Jeremy: If I want to ensure Julie’s safety, I’ve got to ensure Val’s safety so, she plays her idol tonight and she should be fine.”
How many idols does Rocker think there are? A new one for every player sent to Exile Island? Maybe one day, say by Survivor 39, it will come to this but, for now, production hasn’t totally lost its mind.

After John told her to play her idol, Val had a confessional: “This is like an Oscar winning moment: I don’t have an idol but it doesn’t even matter because three of them vote Baylor and Jackie and I vote Baylor: That’s five against Baylor. I know me and Jaclyn are safe.”

After they returned to camp, Josh had a confessional: “All of a sudden, John and Val walked off together. They’ve never walked off together. Those two? I want to know what’s going on about that and I don’t think he’s being honest with me. Splitting a vote is definitely risky at this point in the game because we do have people on our team that we wonder about sometimes. Tonight, what it comes down to is what I think is going to get me to the top.”

There is no doubt that Josh is the player to watch in Coyopa. That’s two episodes where he has given us the title quote and that he has received the last confessional before Tribal Council. We are watching his game just like we watched Tony’s game last least that’s how it looks until it is Hunahpu’s turn to vote.

Tribal Council

Jeff first addressed Dale, saying the team was 0 for 4 in the game.
Dale told him they made a mistake with their line-up: Except for Baylor, they lost all the confrontations where loved ones went head to head. (That really only applied to Alec and Josh though)
Alec admitted that his pride, his desire to go up against Drew probably hurt their tribe. (It could be but still it would not be a certain thing. Drew would have likely beaten Josh but would have Alec defeated Reed? By saying this, Alec is implying that he would have.) Alec added that it wasn’t the first time they made the wrong decisions before a challenge.
Rocker showed some confidence: “At one point, it’s going to gel, it’s going to click and we are going to take one of these things and be right back in there mentally and physically.”
Jeff had doubts: “Josh; that works if time is not an issue.” (Jeff is saying that Survivor doesn’t have 162 games like Baseball...thank goodness!)
Josh compared their situation to a Broadway show that the audience hates. “What they do is they stop and they rework the show (If only Survivor had done this for South Pacific, Nicaragua, Gabon, etc, etc, etc...!) Josh went on: “They have an opening night with all the changes and they come out strong. We got to make changes to make us stronger.”
Asked how they could do that, Val said that it goes back to people trying to play both sides of this game. Even before Jeff asked Val for a name, Baylor knew that the comment was aimed at her.

Note that it could have also applied to Josh but his name wasn’t mentioned.

Dragging herself from under the bus, Baylor said: “I think Val has been out for me since she’s been on the island. She brought the girls together, we had a discussion and I chose to go with the guys.”
Jaclyn interrupted: “But you said you were going with us... and then you flipped.”
Val added: “You told us to vote for Dale. I hadn’t been there, I didn’t know anybody.”
Baylor tried to defend herself, saying she didn’t bring up Dale’s name but Val stood firm: “You told me to vote Dale, straight up, you told me to vote Dale right in camp.”
The recap had reminded us that Val was telling the truth.
Wes told Jeff that Val claimed to have an idol. A few people said they heard she had two. Wes said they had to vote for her to draw out the idol.
Val and Baylor told Jeff they expected to get votes. Baylor added: “It would be a shame to see some flipping happen now because of some crazy talk.”

It was time to vote and we saw John honoring his promise by voting against Baylor.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, everyone looked at Val but she didn’t move. That really surprised John

The first vote ended in a tie

(Note that Jeff flipped the last parchment before reading Val’s name. Why doesn’t he do that also when the last vote is decisive? I mean, it’s OK if the vote is tied before he reads that last one, but when the vote is 4-3 with only one left and he stupidly says: “The second person voted out...” it tells us immediately who he means. It would be much more exciting if he’d always flip that last parchment, silently letting us realize its implication. )

With only 4 votes on Val, that tells us that one guy, most likely Josh, flipped and voted against Val to block John.
On the revote, John voted against Val and he was angry: “I told you to play your idol... Now, I’m going to look like a liar to your husband.”

After snuffing Val’s torch, Jeff said: “There is nothing that I can say that is going to help you. You haven’t won a challenge. You’ve lost two tribe members. Something has to change quickly or, one by one, you will be out of this game.”

Despite the fact that Jaclyn is the one that is isolated and in immediate danger, the camera focused on Baylor and Josh when Jeff said those words. While Jaclyn may benefit if the tribe indeed changes their plan, it seems that there are only two important players here.

The Story

The roles are set: There are only two players with a plan this season at least only two that get to tell the audience about their strategy. All the others are either assets or targets. Things can certainly change but it would seem that we are going to witness a contrast in approach to the game: Josh being sketchy and using scary moves versus Jeremy who is honorable and trustworthy. The interesting thing is that, with Loved Ones, it isn’t only a numbers game. Will the strategists realize that some of their numbers won’t stay with them if given the chance to join their Loved Ones? Dale and Missy have to be considered as liabilities but Reed is also a dangerous player for Jeremy and he hasn’t told us what he thinks about him.

That shows the flaw in this format: Winning immunities isn’t ideal. If they were to merge right now, Hunahpu doesn’t have a target. Even with a 2 player advantage, they couldn’t target any Coyopa without running the risk of seeing one member flip. Coyopa could go after Natalie and Jeremy without hurting the feelings of anyone in the tribe. To further illustrate the problem, suppose that the players merge right now and that Hunahpu targets Rocker. They run the risk of Julie tying the vote at 8-8. On the other hand, if Hunahpu were to lose a challenge before the merge and boot Julie then they would have a much safer majority of 8-7 against Rocker. Of course, the problem would then return at the next vote!

The Characters

The Dumb Players:

Wes: Besides his win over Jeremy in the immunity challenge, the only role that Wes played in this episode was to tell Jeff that Val had an idol or two. Nothing was done to change our impression that he is the dumb kid that lost the striker. He is part of the main alliance in his tribe so he could be an asset for Josh but not for us who like a good story. There is nothing that hints he will play a big role down the line.

John: The game is simple but you must know how it works if you want to have a chance. After finding the idol, John should have realized that Val couldn’t have one, never mind two. Knowing that, John only had two ways to save Val: Give her his idol or invent a story that they needed to keep her, that they would have Jeremy on their side if they did. Since he didn’t do either and since we didn’t hear him tell Jeremy that it could be impossible to save Val, then John may have ended Julie’s game. His own game died when he was recognized. He is probably suffering from a broken nose and he should realize that no one would ever vote for him in the end so the question can be asked: Is John the one that quits? It seems unlikely but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. There were also his words that he would like to save his idol for a council just before the merge. It sets up a nice blindside for the next council.

Alec: His desire to compete against his brother probably cost his tribe the win. He should have known that Drew would win the physical confrontation so maybe he should have gone against someone else. While he is a valuable vote for Josh, Alec doesn’t being much to the story. He will most likely get eliminated without any fanfare. Just a number to discard.

Drew: The shelter that he built looks like one of the best we’ve seen, at least if we only consider those that were built without a tarp or a warehouse full of lumber and tools. Yet, it was his work on the shelter that was used to make him look dumb: Besides Jeremy and Julie’s remarks, we saw him wondering where everybody was while he was hard at work on the shelter. It told us that his hard work had simply made him miss out on all the alliance talk. Drew is presented like a cartoon character and it’s unlikely that his story will change.

Jon: On the surface, the guy with the jokes made a dumb mistake when he lost the flint and his tribe doesn’t take him seriously. Jeremy even called him a cartoon character. His huge win over Rocker may have changed that perception though. Hunahpu will certainly keep him around to go up against the ex-pitcher in future challenges but will he ever be part of their plans? Of the four dumb players, he is the one that has the potential to turn things around.

The Unreliable Ones:

Reed: I put him here simply because we have no information on him. He was included in the warm-up scene with Drew and Jon but not in Jeremy’s comment about it. The only thing we can say is that Josh is a much bigger character so it would be much more likely to see Reed flipping sides, becoming one of Josh’s assets instead of it working the other way around.

Missy: It became apparent that, despite her fighting words, Missy would never intentionally do anything to hurt Baylor. That means that asking her to vote against her daughter and anyone in her alliance will not work. Therefore, Missy has to be voted out before any tribal changes. The fact that we keep hearing about the bond between her and Baylor tells us that she will survive to be reunited with her daughter though and that could be fatal to Jeremy’s alliance. Missy will certainly be an asset for one side but which?

Dale: Then again, if Missy flips to Josh’s alliance, then Dale could flip to join Kelley and Jeremy, making it a wash. It was clear that the challenge was painful to watch for Dale. He said he was rooting for Jaclyn but everyone saw that his heart wasn’t in it. That, in itself, should have put a target on him. I can understand that you don’t want to target a tribe mate just because he cares for someone on the other tribe when you have a Loved One there also, but it became obvious that Dale would fall on his sword for Kelley, making him a liability. It was strange that no one brought it up but maybe it was done to hide the next vote.

The Players that are in Danger:

Jaclyn: She is completely isolated in her tribe and the editors haven’t presented yet her as the likeable underdog. We only heard her calling out Baylor during Tribal council, telling Jeff how the cheerleader flipped on them. The tribe needs a change and that could be Jaclyn’s way out of trouble. Right now, there is little doubt that she would use the first chance to flip on Coyopa and go with Jon’s tribe but there is still time to recuperate her. Jon, being quite the athlete, is likely to make the merge so Josh could change plans and get Jaclyn on board with the ulterior motive to flip Jon. The challenge arena discussions can reveal a tribe’s dynamics so maybe Coyopa realizes that Jon, while needed for challenges, isn’t included in the main alliance. Despite her precarious position, she didn’t get the typical spike of confessional that tells us she is in immediate danger. I think there is more to Miss Michigan’s story.

Julie: My two favorite moments of the episode were John’s defeats so I applauded Julie’s victory. We don’t know what her status in the tribe was but the easiest way Jeremy will have to make John pay for Val’s elimination will be to vote her out. It would be a shame because she did nothing wrong in the game except for her choice of partner. As for her social game, we can’t say she did anything right either because we simply haven’t seen her talk with the others. The only positive moment for Julie came in her win over her boyfriend when it seems that the editors hid her failures to present her as a slow-and-steady player. I have to say that this manipulation makes me think Julie also has a future in this story.

The Assets:

Keith: The Fireman didn’t have a good follow-up to his solid premiere. For now, he looks like nothing more than a vote for Jeremy.

Baylor: The cheerleader continues to have a complex edit. She should be seen as a villainess, the one that caused Nadiya and Val’s elimination. In the premiere, she chose to go along with John, an unlikeable person, Wes and Alec, the tribe’s own cartoon characters. The audience must have cringed when Baylor and Josh didn’t go with the girls and many must have enjoyed seeing Baylor getting thrown under the bus by Val. Yet, there is enough care given to Baylor that she can’t be totally disliked. We could have heard her saying only that she wants to trust Josh but we heard her also say that she sees him as being sketchy and scary so she isn’t a blind follower. She also beat her mother after getting injured. Personally, I found that confrontation to be a complete waste of time but it did reinforce the bond between the two and showed her as being, for lack of a better word, spunky. I see a poor version of Ciera but I think the editors are trying really hard to make the shoe fit.

Natalie: At least, she didn’t only cry about her sister’s elimination. She did say: “it’s very good motivation for me to keep my head in the game and compete hard so that I can at least go as far as I can.” Still, there is a lack of plan in those words. I’m sure she must have been thinking that she would find out who went after her sister and make them pay but Natalie isn’t one of our strategists this season so that part of her confessional was dropped. With Jeremy, that makes two members of Hunahpu’s main alliance that are now singles so I wonder if we will see Kelley and Keith’s Loved Ones also get voted out. Jeremy’s alliance talks had a strange presentation so it could be that it was done that way to show that the members aren’t really tight. The merge could very well confront Jeremy’s singles going against Josh’s paired players with Baylor and Missy caught in the middle.

Kelley: While we didn’t hear much from Kelley, her only confessional being about the lost flint, I think this was a good episode for Kelley. The birthday girl certainly didn’t get the same level of attention that Danni did when she celebrated her birthday in Guatemala (I still wonder how she got production to agree to that) but we did hear that she made her father proud and saw that she was good in physical challenges. Of all the players that have been reduced to the role of assets, I think Kelley has the best chance to turn things around and use her leader’s hard work to her advantage. We didn’t see how Jon reacted when Kelley defeated his girlfriend so maybe there is something being deliberately hidden there. Could Kelley be instrumental in bringing Jaclyn over? Time will tell but we have to keep our eyes on Kelley. While Jon, Julie, Baylor and Jaclyn are also possibilities, Kelley could be the one that has the story of a winner hidden behind the big characters.

The Strategists: If this season’s winner is another big character, then it has to be one of these two.

Josh, the sketchy leader: By losing all these immunities, Josh is turning into the leader of what we can call the “Blood alliance”. Everyone in his alliance still has a partner on the other side so he will not be without resources no matter when the merge happens. In fact, Josh’s best strategy could be to eliminate those that lose their Loved One if Hunahpu ever goes to Tribal Council. The game in Coyopa is strictly presented through Josh’s eyes and only Baylor, his closest ally, is aware of his actions. John thought he had outwitted Josh and saved Val but Josh was clearly one step ahead. His next step could very well be to force the pitcher into retirement for good.

Jeremy, the respected leader: The next few episodes could put Jeremy at the head of a “Water Alliance”. Along with Natalie, he also lost his Loved One so he will have an extra layer of motivation to go after Coyopa. Will he make the mistake of going only after John? The road to the end is filled with potential obstacles for Jeremy, the biggest being that no one on the other tribe is a safe target. Will he see the dangers that Missy and Reed represent? While Josh is already presented as being well in control of his tribe, I think the fact that Jeremy’s situation being more in doubt makes him our best contender for the title of Sole Survivor...for now!

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21. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-05-14 AT 10:19 AM (EST)

Excellent read, michel! Very interesting indeed, and it will be so interesting to see how this is going to unfold! Love your ability to really see things, including possible omissions in the editing. It all adds up! Thanks!

Okay, my first thoughts post show are that the Coyopa Tribe is the new Crap for Brains Tribe....I’ll explain further as we go.

The intro was interesting. Jiffy reminded us that we started out with 9 pairs of loved ones, then touted the new twist of competing against your loved one for reward, noting that Jeremy wins. Wouldn’t that be something if Jeremy were the winner of the show....all spelled out for us in the very first intro. He goes on to tell us that Keith goes to EI with Val, and that relationships were forming at Coyopa, John and Wes, and we hear John note that, “he busted me”. Thus, begins the story arc for John Rocker.

I don’t see it as Coyopa is more important to the story of the season, I see it as Coyopa is more important to the story right now.

He continues that Val got a big piece with the clue, and Hunahpu won the IC, and it looked like the tribe divided between women vs. men but because of “one relationship”, Josh went rogue and Baylor voted for Nadiya, breaking up the woman’s alliance and leaving Jacklyn and Val all alone. Pretty much sets up the very next boot, nice and neat right in the intro.

We immediately see Josh explaining why he went “rogue” and voted for Baylor. She had a nice confessional at the end of it saying she understood but it was “scary and sketchy, and she really hopes that she can trust him”. Well, I think the lights are on, but I still don’t know if anybody is home. Clearly, she is sticking with Josh...And, Josh, he is at least for now seemingly the puppetmaster in Coyopa.

At Hunahpu we see Reed stretching in a very extreme way, and then Jon, the resident meat head is lifting what appears to be a tree stump...then Jeremy has a confessional which sounds like a narrator: “We’ve got Jon and Drew and they are like cartoon characters...I know all the girls can’t stand them already”, as we see Natalie give them some sh!t. Interesting that the camera focused on Reed and Jon, but Jeremy called out Drew and Jon. Why not say that Reed is a cartoon character, after all, he was the one that played Spiderman?

Then the girls look for the flint and cannot find it, noting that Jon had it last. Jon has a nice confessional that if you do something wrong you need to own it, if you are wrong, admit it. He joked around that it was like he was J’Tia right now as if this was as bad as pouring the rice out...we then hear him ask, “Do you need flint to make fire?” and comic relief, Keith, responds, “It helps”.

While Jon may come across as a meathead, I think the confessional that he had about his dad and now this one saying when you are wrong, admit it, shows he has more substance. I think there is more to this one than just a pretty face. If Jon turned out to be a winner, this is definitely someone underestimating him, perhaps....?

Next we have them arriving at the “hero” arena and they see that Nadiya has been voted out. Natalie cries, and she hasn’t cried in over 10 years, she notes that she and her sister have been together for 28 years.

Rocker, Rocker, Rocker. Certainly not the brightest player. Does rock/paper/scissors and wins and gets to choose who does the challenge, and he decides to do it. Now, sitting in the arena I assume they can see it. He can see the lay out that he will have to manuever UNDER poles. He was the tallest guy there, so likely the worst possible candidate to do this challenge....or, did he choose to go against his GF and give it to her? Clearly, this was not the best challenge suited to him.

EXCELLENT noting that Julie most likely had to start again as well, michel. However, I don’t know that it means she’s going to be an end game player, but I see it as they needed to make John look like a fool that he was for hastily volunteering for the duel that least suited him...his ego is getting in the way of his game. (I might add here that not only is Rocker being shown that he does not think before he acts and that directly leads to failure, later in the show Jiffy gets Alec to admit in TC that they don’t play strategically and they fail to discuss prior to going into challenges....this all underlines to me that the big guy, John, is the one that reacts instead of uses his head and that it’s leading to the demise of Coyopa. What will happen to this tribe when they are finally able to get rid of Rocker? That’s the question!)

Julie wins and chooses Jeremy to go with him, she states it was unusual for her to win vs. John, but John is mad he lost to a girl. After the challenge, Reed raises his hand and tells Jiffy they would like to barter for flint, they want to trade their old beans in for new flint...Jiffy admonishes them, and they end up getting flint but no fishing ends with another nice confessional from Jon, how it would have been huge to get the fishing gear, but it was his fault...owning it again!

Then, they go back with the winners and congratulate Julie, but it is more focused on Natalie. Missy has a confessional about how close twins are. Missy is the maternal voice in this season and appears very empathetic to her peers, a good quality, just ask Tina. Natalie has a nice confessional: she got voted off....good motivation for me to keep my head in the game and at least go as far as I can
With Nadiya gone, Natalie’s stock has just gone way up, her confessional could be forshadowing...

Back at Coyopa, they are talking about John being run out of the league by talking about ethnic issues in front of Val, we see her interested in what they are saying. They are not talking well of John, but Josh tells us in confessional that regardless if they don’t like him, he still wants to work with him. Josh is a player, knows he’s a great shield.

At EI, Jeremy continues narration telling us how desolate EI is and that it’s not a happy place, the icing on the top is that he is there with John Rocker. He knows him. Jeremy gets the clue and he shows Rocker, a MUCH smarter move than Val made, and contrasting with Val’s game. Jeremy has strategy, something that clearly Rocker lacks...“You take care of Val, I will take care of Julie”. “Done and done”, says Rocker. If not, Julie will be toast.

Nice pick up on the helicopter shot but I also see that as a way to isolate the players on EI. It was used extensively for Ozzy. I also remember the shots of Coach on EI, Tocantins, basking in the sun in his yoga outstretched arm pose. I think it was used alot in that sandy area in Tocantins. I agree though that so far Jeremy is a key player.

Next we have the IC, which Jiffy loves because it underlines the crux of the season, loved ones vs loved ones. We have brother vs. brother, boyfriend vs. boyfriend, and mother vs. hard, Baylor cries because her mom smacks her in the nose, but Baylor outlasts her on the platform, will she outlast her in the game too?

Rocker being defeated by Jon got a “wow” from Julie. Interesting to note that Kelly lost the first round to Jacklyn but then won in the end when it counted even though she “was big”, Dale notes, it’s her birthday...also interesting that Wes states, “clash of the old guys” when Dale and Keith go at it....underlying the young vs. old division in Coyopa. One hundred percent agree, the “kiss of death” confessional after the IC goes to Val. She’s going to be toast!

Now comes the good part, back at Coyopa...John walks off with Val, while EVERYONE notices, and tells her that he enjoyed spending time with Jeremy, and she says you probably got a clue to the idol, he tells her no, Jeremy did and he shared it with me...we looked there but didn’t find it. Now, bright Val says there are 2...John now has a confessional about how he has no idols and better start looking for one, so he does. Did anyone notice how EASY it was for Rocker to find it....under the rock, and then very shallowly placed, there was no digging involved. I’m surprised the rock didn’t have a neon sign painted on it....clearly it seems to me that production wanted Rocker, the villain, to find this idol, just as they wanted Hantz to find it...ugh. Rocker has the confessional about it: “I found at least an extra 3 days in the game..wear it with pride, .the athlete types usually make it to right before merge, this has made me more time in the age, now I have to figure out how to protect Val”.

John concocts a plan and goes to Josh, the go-to boy, and tells him that Val told him she has 2 idols, one for her and one for Jacklyn, so they need to flush an idol and split votes evenly between Val and Baylor. Now this is where I start to get confused....Josh in conf: “If she does have 2 then one of us 5 guys is going home, so the only other way around that is not letting them know that 3 votes are going to Baylor”.

Then we see Val and John go off again...”We are splitting votes tonight, 3 to you, 3 to Baylor”....then it splits into a confessional from John: “I told Jeremy I would keep Val safe, I made a promise to him, so if she plays her idol she should be fine, I will keep her safe and he will keep Julie safe”...then we see him telling her to play her idol, and she says, OK. Then Val in conf: “I mean this is like an Oscar winning moment, I don't have the idol but it doesn't matter because if 3 of them vote Baylor and Jacklyn and I vote Baylor, we are safe”.

Val is the dumbest player of all time and clearly, from her actions from last week we should have noticed she wasn’t long at ALL for this game. All she had to do was to tell Rocker, she didn’t have the idol, and there would have been a different plan. Clearly, Josh and John knew that she and Jacklyn would be votes for Baylor...what was she possibly thinking with the 2 idols and I have them both lie? And, Rocker, come on, do you really think there are 3 idols available to your tribe only? I just cannot believe these people...Val deserved to go and imo is one of the worst players ever. Clearly John must have spoken with Josh to vote Val out if she didn’t play the idol....he was exasperated perhaps with her. Meanwhile through this we get yet another confessional from Josh telling us he will do what’s best for his game....hmmm?

At TC Alec made a nice point about their tribe not playing strategically and failing to discuss before they go up against the other tribe, a contrast to his brother in the other tribe being called the dumb guy. (Rocker being the poster boy for wreckless moves and no strategy whatsoever in challenges). Val calls out Baylor at TC, people trying to play both sides, and Val says that it was Baylor that told them to vote out Dale. Wes tells Jiffy that Val says that she has two idols and they want to draw one out...Baylor says it would not be good to see flipping because of some “crazy” talk...and they vote.

It’s a tie, then they revote minus Baylor and Val, and Val is out. Rocker says that she made him look like a liar to your husband....the arc is peaking and Rocker is in the spotlight.

Jiffy tells them that something has to change or they will all be out one by one....hmmmm.

So, to sum it up: Coyopa = Crap for Brains, Val = Crap for Brains, Rocker* = Crap for Brains, arc is climbing, clearly the villain, but now a villain with an HII. Josh = Coyopa puppetmaster, sees Rocker as a shield for himself. I agree with michel, setting up to be the villain behind the villain! Alec = smarter than Drew, Dale = expendable, Baylor = pawn, Jacklyn = she’s big and on the wrong side of the numbers, could being “big” help her? Expendable.

*Rocker: He’s an ex-professional athlete, he’s a big a$$ beast, he’s got a controversial past, he’s wreckless, he has a mouth....does sound like the perfect shield, but will he be the demise of his entire tribe, one by one as Jiffy notes? Apparently, Josh will be the one that determines Rockers fate, and right now Rocker has an idol, and he has Josh.

Regarding Hunahpu:

Jeremy: key player, alpha male, narrator, majority alliance. Shown in contrast to his wife...he is strategic and so far successful, while Val tried to be strategic but fails miserably. Natalie: stock rising, majority alliance. Missy: mother, empathetic, good social game, majority alliance. Kelly: a beta, follower, good in challenges, majority alliance. Jon: physical threat, depth, forthcoming. Drew: young, dumb? Reed: not called out by Jeremy as young, dumb, cartoon character, but shown to be. Shown being the one to ask Jeff about their pathetic deal, UTR. Julie: in jeopardy? Keith: UTR after good start. “It helps”.

A note to contemplate, one that michel so eloquently refers to in his assessments. The big difference in the B v W seasons in regard to regular seasons is that even if your tribe is being obliterated, you still have ties to the other tribe as long as your loved one is still in the game. Totally makes it a different game. Clearly, this must give Josh more ammunition to play boldly, to insist on keeping the Rockers in the game.

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10-06-14, 03:09 PM (EST)
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24. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
Hi ya FP! Nice summary.

This: the athlete types usually make it to right before merge,

Oh boy, you mean we may have to watch the Rocker show for a few more TC's?

BTS Bloody Hell 2

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10-06-14, 07:50 PM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
I really liked to read your thoughts, FP. Loved your spiderman reminder so much that I used it in my LVOE list. You should join us with your list in Aruba's Bashers thread.

The "crap for brains" tribe does have a smart player leading it though. If Josh really wants to play boldly then he will boot Rocker ASAP. If he is intent on leading a "Blood" alliance, his best move could be to get rid of the player everyone hates. After seeing the tension between the pistcher and Honeypoo, Josh should realize that it will be easier to get Missy, Drew or Jon to flip if Rocker isn't on Coyopa anymore.

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10-07-14, 07:23 AM (EST)
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26. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-07-14 AT 07:25 AM (EST)

The "crap for brains" tribe does have a smart player leading it though.

Make no mistake, michel, Josh is NO Spencer, imho. While he is shown to be a "player", I don't think at this point the average viewer would classify him as smart. Voting to boot his back pocket girl in the first vote, then the second vote?? If Val had 2 idols then Baylor would have been toast. He is making moves that are unnecessary, imho. He seems reckless to me. So far it has turned out in his favor, but I am not quite ready to call him smart. Just saying',

You do, however, make a great case to boot Rocker. Seems like Rocker just may be going sooner rather than later???

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10-06-14, 12:48 PM (EST)
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22. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
I just saw this on an Entertainment Weekly preseason intro to some players: Reed Kelly compares his partner to one of the most famous people to ever play Survivor: Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel. “She was so great with the way she played,” says Kelly. “And the way she carried herself in the game was from such an honest place and a place of faith, which is very Josh, so I think that would be a great person to compare him to.”

Honest? A place of faith? That doesn't seem like the Josh being portrayed so far!

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10-07-14, 07:28 AM (EST)
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27. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
LAST EDITED ON 10-07-14 AT 12:44 PM (EST)

Honest? A place of faith? That doesn't seem like the Josh being portrayed so far!

*GAG* I agree!

Lisa did go through all of the other players things in search for the HII, and she found it in Malcolm's stuff....then cried some kind of excuse. :-P

Gagging re: Lisa Welchel being one of the "most famous people to play Survivor"....ugh!

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23. "RE: Episode2 The Assets:"
Nice catch on Julie's good edit on the duel, can't wait to see how her edit continues.

Enjoyed your take on everything like always Michel!

BTS Bloody Hell 2

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28. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
LAST EDITED ON 10-09-14 AT 04:54 PM (EST)

Per Request ...

I am beginning to think that Keith may well be this Season's Sole Survivor.

And, if he is, I would offer this as the Winning Quote:

Give me a day or two and we’ll figure all this out ...
... see what happens.

ETA: One comparison - the unflappable Sandra.

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10-11-14, 04:45 PM (EST)
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29. "Episode 3 - Making Changes"
Previously, on Survivor... Julie beat...John Rocker and sent Val’s husband, Jeremy, to join him on Exile Island.
...John promised Jeremy that he’d look after his wife.

At the immunity challenge (note that we saw only Natalie defeating Val and that round was presented as the winning point, Jeff screaming Hunahpu wins the immunity challenge while Natalie is on the platform celebrating) Coyopa continued their losing streak. (Note also that John’s poor sportsmanship was already displayed when we heard him yell “chokehold”)

Back in camp, John found the immunity idol and he kept his promise to Jeremy to save Val... but Val was lying to John: She didn’t have an idol.

Josh got suspicious...and, at Tribal Council, he switched his vote from Baylor to Val.

One has to wonder about the choice of showing Natalie as the one winning immunity for Hunahpu and Dale being so distraught when we didn’t see Kelley’s battle with Jaclyn. I don’t think it was so much to showcase Natalie as to show that Val didn’t do enough to save herself. One thing that has to be noted is that the recap of the challenge would have been an excellent occasion to feature Jon Misch and Kelley’s big win. Ignoring them is a bad sign for both. As for Dale’s presence, it could be simply to underline Coyopa’s distress, but it was more likely shown to begin his own end of game story. Dale had been able to direct the first two votes but, by the end of this episode, he would be completely isolated.

The more interesting question concerns Jeremy: Since we heard Jeff say that Rocker kept his promise to save Val, is it the editing line that Jeremy will be wrong to throw John under the bus at both challenges? This question is at the heart of Jeremy’s story. If we were able to confidently answer it, we would know whether Jeremy is our winner or not. The problem is that he didn’t say anything that wasn’t true when he talked about the former pitcher. In a sense, Rocker deserved it so Jeremy didn’t bully him out of the game. I will still say that Jeremy’s actions will cost him the game, not necessarily from an editing analysis but from a game perspective. When he sees that Coyopa eliminated John, he will think that they are a good group, that they will be fun people to get to know after the merge but there are some real cut-throat players (and alligators!) in Coyopa.

Making Changes

Coyopa – Night 6

The evening started with Baylor’s confessional: “I think I’m officially woken up from thinking I’m safe in this game. It’s now a “Baylor-fight-for-herself” game, not a Baylor-rely-on-Josh to talk to everybody because I was pretty close to being completely blindsided tonight. At this point, I don’t trust anybody necessarily but I’m still open to playing the game with just about anybody.”

This is a great confessional for Baylor. It tells the audience that she isn’t a blind follower and that she could surprise Josh somewhere down the line. The problem is that we’ve had quite a few of these spunky girls making it far but not winning the game. Erinn and Ciera immediately come to mind. While we could be witnessing the birth of Baylor’s winning story, she could also wind up on a Journey that will turn her into the last one standing. The main difference we have between Baylor, Erinn and Ciera is that our cheerleader isn’t isolated. Even if she received votes, she is aligned with Josh, her tribe’s true leader while Coach was gunning for Erinn and Culpepper probably didn’t even talk to Ciera. On the other hand, Baylor was targeted by Rocker, the one Hunahpu considered as the leader, and we will soon hear Josh say that, despite everything, Jaclyn AND Baylor will be the next to go. It must be said that Baylor has an important story ahead.

Right after, John had a confessional: “When Jeremy sees that Val got voted out, he will be pretty pissed but I told her to play an idol, that they were coming after her and she didn’t do it. What else to do? I gave her inside information that, if the alliance of five found out, they would be pretty pissed at me.”

It’s quite funny that John is aware that the inside information he gave to Val would hurt him if it became known but then he would be the one to reveal it to his whole tribe. I guess this is why they have coaches in Baseball: The athletes are the ones playing the game but many really don’t know how to do it. It would have been a good time for Bobby Cox to make a visit to the mound.

Back on the beach, John asked Josh who flipped. The actor was honest: “It was me. I’m sorry I didn’t have time to tell you...I was looking at the numbers and no, I had to vote for Val.”
John conceded: “Smart move.”

Josh in confessional: “Just before Tribal Council, I realized that Jaclyn and Val were voting for Baylor and that was not the plan. I think that John had something to do with that because he had been walking around with Val before Tribal Council and they never spent any time together. John’s credibility has gone way down for me just in this last day but what we will probably end up doing is still the strong boys’ alliance and, unless something crazy happens, Jaclyn and Baylor are probably next on the chopping block.”

In the middle of the confessional, we heard John telling Josh that the alliance of five guys was still solid and Josh agreed that it was.

We are being told that Josh is still with Rocker which isn’t a good sign for him. He will get a confessional that will completely disassociate him from the unsavory character but there is still the impression that it took Josh a long time to see the light.

Hunahpu – Day 7

We heard Drew telling his tribe that a monsoon was coming. He told them that they had to put in a team effort to tighten up the shelter.

Drew (solo): “I’m trying to warn my tribe because we need to find something to cover the roof of the shelter. It looks like Swiss cheese. It’s not going to be good when these tropical storms start coming through.”

Missy narrated the events: “We redesigned the roof and we started weaving these palm fronds. We had lessons and we had everybody going, even the boys...except for Drew. He tried for a minute and he got too frustrated. He had to lie down and take a nap.”

After hearing that Drew had other assets besides weaving, Keith gave us a confessional: “Drew is a big sleeper. If my son was acting like Drew, you’d probably don’t want to know. I probably can’t say it on camera...We still spank, we still whoop, whatever you want to call it, in the South.”

I really saw these two confessionals as a sign of things to come. In Hunahpu, we have Missy, “the Nice Mom” and Keith, “the Strict Father”. Knowing how people need to recreate structure in these trying conditions, Missy and Keith could very well be the nucleus of the “Family” that makes it to the end. Which ones of the many kids still left in the game will make the long trip to day 39 with them? Maybe we will be able to answer that by the end of this episode.

Just when Drew started snoring, Natalie used a leaf to tickle his nose, waking him up. That made Kelley and Jeremy laugh. Natalie said she was sorry that she was working in his sleep area. She asked him point blank to name one thing he’s done.
Natalie in confessional: “I don’t understand how you come here with total strangers and you don’t feel the need to pull your own weight. Drew is just a waste of space.”

This won’t be the last time that Natalie calls out someone in this episode. Since her two targets were Drew and Rocker, two people who certainly deserved it, the audience will appreciate her actions but this is a social game so, to paraphrase her, I don’t understand how she goes there with total strangers and didn’t feel the need to use some tact. It’s not her strong suit for sure and we will soon see that her chances of winning the game are gone.

Natalie and Jeremy went off for a walk. She explained her frustration, saying that she has very low tolerance but Jeremy wisely said: “It’s good for this game. He’s not going to win a million dollars.”

Jeremy in confessional: “Drew is all over the place. I was planning on taking him longer because he’s a moron but I’m not going to be able to. If he is physically falling apart right now, I think that, by day 20, he’ll be like: “Listen, I want to go home. I’m all done, Jeremy. Take my million dollars. You can have it.”

As soon as Jeremy’s confessional ended, the familiar Survivor horn sounded. It served to underline the possible million dollar quote. It was quite telling that we had another image of Drew sleeping while Jeremy was saying that the young man was spent. Contrary to Natalie, Jeremy knows that you don’t need to get frustrated by dumb players, that they are good for his game. We are still receiving hints that Jeremy will be our winner but those hints look more and more like lures. The editors could be creating a false trail so let’s keep our eyes open and see what happens when Hunahpu goes to Tribal Council. We will be in a better position to compare his treatment to the one that Josh has received.

The Reward Challenge

The focus was on Jeremy and Rocker when Jeff said that Val had been vote out. Jeremy simply said: “Whatever.” Asked by Jeff to explain his reaction, Jeremy said: “The men are taking over. They are going to try to take out all the strong women that are threats to them so you all need to start changing it all on them. That’s what you need to do because you all are next.”

The camera included Jaclyn, but our attention was clearly on Baylor when Jeremy mentioned the “strong women that are threats...” It’s interesting that Jeremy misread the dynamics of Coyopa. It certainly isn’t a fatal error like the one made by JT and the Heroes when they thought the Villains were run by the women, but he thinks that Rocker was their leader. With Drew being the moron who wants to lead on his tribe, Jeremy could also think that Alec has to be targeted, not seeing who are the real threats in that tribe.

Julie looked really troubled when Jeff turned to John, asking him to explain how this new layer affects the game.

John answered: “I want to apologize to Jeremy. I gave him my word as a man that I would look out after his wife. I lobbied as hard as I could but I couldn’t swing the rest of my alliance so I had to go along with them.”

John, John, John. You had to know that you’d have to say something so why didn’t you prepare your tribe to what you were going to say before getting to the arena. It would have been simple to tell them that you would be lying to Jeremy to soften the blow, to avoid creating an enemy.

In confessional, Josh immediately confirmed that Rocker didn’t do anything to cover his ##### with his own tribe: “All of us guys are like: “WHAT?” I suspected that he was probably working with Val but he totally admitted to it in the middle of the arena.”
Since the players wanted to know what they were playing for (I wish someday someone says: “Even if we say no, you’re going to tell us anyway”) Jeff revealed that they would be playing for either comfort in the form of a tarp, hammock, mattress, pillow and blankets or the fishing gear that Hunahpu traded for flint.
Having the choice of competitors, Coyopa talked about the decision for once. Wes said: “I feel like my dad wouldn’t be good at all at that.” The others went along so we had Keith versus Wes and while dad did well, the son won the challenge.

It was interesting to hear Kelly's comments: “Nice job, Keith: Nice and slow. You got it. Good job, you are killing it.”

That comment tied in nicely to Keith’s strategy of taking a few days to figure things out. Will Keith “kill” it in the end?

Keith and Wes showed emotions after the challenge. Keith said he was proud of his son. Wes told Jeff that he never saw his father this way except for when his great-grandfather, Keith’s grand-father, died. The two hugged, everyone applauded while Baylor and Missy had a few tears also.

Having to send someone from his tribe to Exile Island with his dad, Wes chose Josh. Jeff wanted to know why. Wes said that he gets along with Josh so he thought his father would also get along.

I really wish that Jeff would force the players to stay quiet and not explain their decisions. That way, when Josh gets to Exile Island and tells Keith that he is aligned with Wes, Keith would have some doubts. He’d have to wonder if Josh was lying. With Jeff opening the door, Wes was actually telling Keith: “I’m in an alliance with Josh so you should trust him.”

Without hesitations, Coyopa chose the fishing gear.

I found that choice intriguing considering that the tarp was included in the comfort items. Nothing is more important than shelter and the fact that the tarp comes AFTER the fishing gear proves that production sees it as a bigger reward. Rewards usually grow in value. I definitely think it was a mistake.

When Coyopa left the arena, John whispered to Jeremy: “I did everything I could, brother. I swear to you.”

Jeremy in confessional: “I did everything I could. No, you didn’t because, if you did, she would still be here. I’m out to get him now. Point blank.”

Julie realized that things were about to get tough for both her and John.

Once again, it’s difficult to assess Jeremy’s comment. The recap made it clear that John kept his promise to Jeremy so we could say that Val’s husband misread the situation and his going after the wrong target which could foreshadow some problems for him in reading people down the line. However, we are talking about John Rocker so the audience couldn’t be unhappy with Jeremy’s tirade. If we add the fact that John could have done more to save Val (give her his idol or, more realistically, tell his alliance that, if they kept Val, they’d have Jeremy on their side) then was Jeremy really wrong to be angry? John did say that protecting Val was a done deal, implying that his decision would sway the tribe. He should have told Jeremy that he wasn’t in an ideal position to save her.

Hunahpu – Day 7

The tribe consoled Jeremy while Julie walked away in tears.
I wonder if parts of this scene weren’t actually taken from the tribe’s return from the Immunity challenge instead of the reward. Because of time constraints, we wouldn’t return to Hunahpu after their win but the confrontation at the RC was quite mild compared to what was going to happen later on. I don’t think there was enough said during the reward challenge to make Julie cry so maybe she just walked off to get water or something this time.

Jeremy was telling his tribe that John was running the show on the other side so that tribe had to go after him.

Jeremy in confessional: “I was mad when I didn’t see Val because John Rocker told me and shook my hand saying he would take care of her. He turned his back on his agreement with me so, even though he is not from my tribe, I need him out.”

The events would be presented in such a way that the audience will be able to say that Jeremy played a big role in getting rid of Rocker.

Jeremy told his tribe who John Rocker really was.

After realizing that John was a racist and a bigot, Natalie had a confessional: “I don’t feel sorry for Julie at all. She is just trying to cover his ##### in order to cover hers knowing that Big John made some racist comments, some homophobic comments. I want the other tribe to grow a pair of balls and stand up against him.”

Despite the bashing from the other members of the tribe, Missy went to comfort Julie.

Julie in confessional: “I feel really alone after what happened. If everybody believes Jeremy, believes that my boyfriend John is running the show; then my boyfriend John made me an open target. (This is when we saw Missy joining Julie) I never thought, in my wildest dreams that Blood versus Water would be this difficult. I know it’s a game but knowing that my boyfriend put me in this situation is hard”

In the middle of her confessional we heard Julie telling Missy: “If they believe what he is saying then what I do doesn’t matter. John is my counter-part in this.”
Missy replied: “You’ve got to play your own game.”
Julie: “It’s just all twisted and messed up.”

At this point, the animal imagery told us that it’s already too late for Julie.

Like the wave that overwhelmed the little bird, this game will drown Julie. Already, the previews to next week’s episode show a group of vultures feeding on carrion left on Hunahpu’s beach which could very well be that little bird. Julie will probably not make it out of Hunahpu.

So what was the point of this scene? It reinforced the “Nice Mom” role that Missy is playing. Her social game has now been shown to be in clear contrast to Drew, Jeremy and Natalie. This could carry her far, especially considering that Coyopa has no Mother figures. The only “parent” in that tribe is Dale and the young ones have moved out of Dale’s place. Dale looks too isolated to play the “Good Parent” role for Coyopa but, once we reach the merge, Missy certainly could.

Exile Island – Day 7

Josh thanked Keith for inviting him to his home then he gave us a confessional: “Exile Island is full of rocks. It’s barren and it sucks. I’m probably going to sleep on rocks tonight, but at least we get the clue to the immunity idol.”

Before they picked urns, Keith made it clear that they should share the information. He gave us this confessional: “I wasn’t thinking the first time that me and Val come out here. She got the clue and I got a blank piece of paper. I was thinking that, this time by gosh, I was going to get something."

I made a note that this confessional worked perfectly with Keith’s theme of needing a few days to figure things out.
The two guys realized that John and Jeremy could have the idols.

That brings an interesting point: We couldn’t see Jeremy going to look for the idol last week since we didn’t go to Hunahpu after he returned from Exile Island but why didn’t he go look for it in this episode? Did the footage of his search get cut and if so, for what purpose? Maybe Jeremy didn’t find the idol despite the easy directions he was given or the editors are being creative and keeping us in the dark. Whenever a player found an idol without the discovery being shown (Gary and Amanda), they played it during that episode’s Tribal Council. If Jeremy has the idol, it could be a long time before he needs it. Will we be kept in the dark that long? It would be fun for a change. However, since the show is so formulaic, Keith could very well still have a chance to find it.

Keith’s confessional resumed: “There haven’t been too many people here. There’s been Jeremy besides me on my crew. I need to get back, find the idol and Jeremy is kind of the only one standing in my way.”

The image shown when Keith said that there was only Jeremy standing in his way was extremely interesting.

Here we had Keith, machete in hand, chopping firewood as if it was in his way. This is a big clue that Keith will backstab Jeremy... maybe even sooner than we think.

Keith then told Josh that they could go look for snails. They found enough for a meal or at least to avoid starving to death.

This led to quite an exceptional succession of confessionals.
It’s rare that we have alternate confessionals in this manner. It’s usually a juxtaposition of point-counterpoint but here they went back and forth, agreeing with each other. I think that, in Josh, we have discovered one of the sons that will form the “Family” trying to make it to the finals.

Josh in confessional: “I think people would be shocked at how well Keith and I get along. You know: A Louisiana hick and a gay guy from New York. It’s not the two people that you would think that would be chilling out and having a good time.”

Keith concurred in his own confessional: “Me and Josh are probably as far apart as night and day, or black and white. He seems like a good ole boy, just not my good ole boy.”

Back to Josh: “I think it’s so cool to hang out with people from a different walk of life that you wouldn’t normally do. How else do we change? How else do we grow?”

Keith’s turn: “Josh is on one side of the fire, I am on the other side of the fire. There won’t be no spooning going on up here tonight either. I just don’t see too many Joshes in Louisiana. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

What a wonderful scene! It reminded me of Hatch and Rudy when Rudy famously said: “I like him but not in a homosexual way.” CTGirl brought up the parallel between country boy JT and city boy Stephen which was another pair that went a long way together. Therefore we have to consider the strong possibility that, like Tocantins and Borneo’s Odd Couples, Josh and Keith will make it far together. There certainly was a lot of time spent with the two and they had a very balanced presence, something that was clearly lacking in our first two trips to Exile (Keith was featured much more than Val while Jeremy overshadowed John. By the way, those were strong indications of the next two eliminations.) The only problem I noted was the kooky music that accompanied the second half of that scene, the part where the odd couple talked about each other. Usually a musical theme like that is associated with losers but maybe, just this once, it served to highlight the amusing scene. Maybe the dramatic theme that accompanied the first half, their arrival at Exile Island and the reading of the clue, was enough to convey the importance of this union.

Coyopa – Night 7

John walked up to camp with “one more catfish.” It led to his confessional: “We won! We actually managed a win today. We got fishing gear. I’m trying to provide for the tribe. Hopefully, they appreciate that and it puts me in good standing with the rest of my tribe mates.”

Wes (solo): “I give all the props to John for catching fish. It felt good eating some real proteins. I feel that we will have the upper hand in the next challenge.”

These two confessionals serve to tell us that Wes still wasn’t questioning his alliance with John. Wes did hold him in good standing. Therefore, the next scene could be considered very important.

Baylor was in the shelter talking to Alec and Wes while John was sleeping on the beach. She said: “This is a game, you can’t forget that. I really love that you get along with all the guys but they do not care about you. Jaclyn would easily come with us so us four...”

Baylor had a confessional: “Right now, the guys seem to be teaming up and throwing the girls under the bus. I have been thinking about what I can say to push the younger guys in the direction of voting John out.”

During their conversation, Baylor brought John’s anger and negativity but Alec countered that he found him to be “a very good dude even if, in some aspects, he was like a virus.” Baylor told them to think about numbers which got Alec to say that they were thinking about them. Baylor countered that it didn’t look that way.

Alec, in confessional: “Baylor is at the bottom of the tribe and she knows it. She is trying to crawl her way up any way she can but we have a pretty strong group of guys so we are still planning on getting these girls out one by one.”

To Wes, Alec said that they had to lie to her because they could still use her.

Another marvelous scene! Not only does it show that Alec isn’t really aware of the dynamics within his own alliance, condemning him to failure, but it robs Jaclyn of her underdog status to put it squarely on Baylor, the one that Alec sees as being at the bottom of the tribe. This scene tells us not only that Baylor is quite a player but that she doesn’t need Josh to help her out. She is trying to establish a side alliance between Alec, Wes and Jaclyn while keeping the one she has with Josh. Interesting game she is playing. The guys think they can use her but, before long, she will be the one using them. There was a funny moment at the end of the scene: Baylor was shown shaking her head in disbelief as if she could hear all the non-sense coming from the two boys.

The Immunity Challenge

In a bit of a departure from the normal rules, Hunahpu was only allowed to sit 1 person. That meant that they would have 4 pairs competing against Coyopa’s three. Dale and Keith didn’t play. With pairs going through an obstacle course, I was hoping for a funny moment like the one with Joel and Chet but, unless hearing people yelling insults makes you laugh, we were not in for a funny scene at all.

In the first match-up, Jon and Natalie faced Josh and Baylor. It didn’t take long for Rocker to show his colors: “Run ‘em over” he yelled when the 2 pairs met in the middle of the course. Jon and Baylor missed their first attempt but Jon’s second shot was good.

The second round saw Wes and Alec taking on Missy and Julie (a bit of a mismatch due to the rule that had only 1 member of Hunahpu on the bench.) We clearly saw Alec give a hip check to Julie, leading Jeremy to yell: “He just smashed your girl, John.” Wes scored a point before the two women retrieved their ball.

Next, we had Drew and Reed going up against John and Jaclyn. John and Jaclyn used their long legs to climb over the obstacles. John mixed it up a little with Reed but nothing serious. Still, Jeremy and Natalie noted his bad sportsmanship. The former pitcher showed he still had good control, making the basket on his first throw.

Facing elimination, Jeremy and Kelley went up against Josh and Baylor. Jeff was heard saying: “Josh dragging Baylor through this course”. Once more though, it was Baylor who took the shot, just missing. Jeremy didn’t miss so we were tied 2-2.

For the final round, Wes and Alec went up against Jon and Natalie. This time, it was Natalie giving a good body check to Wes. Jon and Wes both missed their first attempt. (When we saw the yellow ball landing close to Natalie, I wondered if she could she have kicked farther away?) Retrieving their ball well before Wes and Alec, Jon had plenty of time to aim and score the winning point.

Immediately, Natalie was heard telling Coyopa to “change it up.” John, knowing what she meant, gestured that she had a big mouth. She called him a racist and a bad sport. We heard Dale reply: “Way to bring the class, Natalie.” She wasn’t finished, telling Coyopa once again that they should vote him out. Julie told Jeff that the reaction was due to the fact the tribe saw John as the mastermind and that they knew about “The Article.”
I won’t get into the whole exchange but it must be pointed out that John stood silent for most of it and Dale said that John was part of their tribe so they had his back. Natalie’s renewed demand that they vote him out got John to end his silence and say: “If you were a man, I’d knock your teeth out.” Julie pleaded with John to cut it.

Finally, Jeff did his job and gave the immunity idol to Missy.

Josh had a confessional: “It is scary that John loses his patience, he loses his temper. I think that John is playing haphazardly and he is doing things that are not going to be helpful for the tribe right now. That’s a problem.”

Even if he didn’t say it directly, Josh’s last words told us that he was thinking of getting the other tribe to like them. That will be important if he wants to get someone to flip, if he wants to create a “Family” between members from both tribes. One thing is now certain, Natalie won’t be part of that “Family”. That fury killed her social game.

Coyopa – Day 8

Returning from the IC loss, Baylor gave us a confessional: “The challenge stunk and I might be in trouble because of the guy/girl ratio. The fact that I started off with a vote and the second tribal, I had votes, I feel like I am going to have votes tonight. They should vote John tonight. Natalie is a fighter and she is a trash talker but, for John to be a professional athlete and act like that. I didn’t respect his responses whatsoever. I felt they were seriously harsh and mean and scary.”

John had a confessional to tell us that he expected that people would remember his past and get upset. In response to Natalie’s comment that he was a homophobe, he said: “My closest ally and closest friend on this tribe is a gay man. Actions versus accusations aren’t really gelling.” Knowing that the girls would target him, he said he had a decent strategy. We saw that his plan was to get Baylor and Jaclyn to vote against Dale while he got the guys to vote on Baylor. The problem was that, as soon a she left the shelter, Jaclyn told Baylor: “I don’t want to vote out Dale, I want to vote out John.”

John exposed that plan to Wes, saying: “We are voting Baylor tonight. Do you have a problem with that?” Wes was good with that idea and so were Dale and Alec when John talked to them.
Next came Josh and John added: “If something funny comes down, I’ve got an idol.”

Josh certainly had a problem with John’s plan as he told us in confessional: “I was kind of shocked because I didn’t know he had an immunity idol. You want the people that are going to be the most honest and the most trusting with you when we are getting so far down in numbers. John has shown some sketchiness and done some things that I don’t agree with as far as his mouth with the other tribe, getting on with Val and doing all this other stuff. He’s got an idol and he’s not going to use that idol for me, he’s going to use that idol for himself. Sometimes you make allies and you don’t know really who they are yet. When you get to know them, you are like: Ooh, I don’t want to be an ally with this person because they stand for so many things that I am against. In john’s case, if I don’t have to use him then I don’t want to.”

This was the confessional that Josh needed to remain a top contender. It finally disassociated him from the jerk and told us that he had been mistaken to align with him. The audience can still say that it took him a long time though and that makes us turn once again to Baylor who had been opposed to John even before the challenge confrontation. Of the 4 people that can be credited with turning the tables on John, namely Jeremy, Natalie, Josh and Baylor, I think that it was the “Fight-for-Herself” Baylor that made the best impression.

Like the alligator going on the hunt, Josh went into the ocean to tell Wes that he had a good time with his dad. He added that John probably had their idol. With Wes saying he was ready for a big move, Josh explained that with Alec and Baylor, they had the four votes needed to get rid of John. Wes was on board and so was Baylor when she heard the plan.

Baylor in confessional: “Obviously, I am celebrating. All the votes that I know about, except Dale, are going towards John. I just really hope that Josh is telling me the truth and Wes is not just lying to my face. It’s freaky, it’s scary because you never know that you could be completely played.”

The trap was set: Just like the fish that couldn’t get out of the reptile’s jaws, John wasn’t going to save himself.

Still, Alec had some doubts as we heard in his confessional: “We are talking about maybe getting rid of John while we can but, physically, John is an asset so is that smart right now? Maybe not.”

Even after Wes told him that John had an idol, Alec was still hesitant.

John also felt some doubts because we saw him retrieving his idol and putting it in his pocket. “I think I may as well bring the idol with me even if I think I manipulated the pieces that needed to be manipulated. The tide may turn against me, who knows but it’s nice to have a get out of jail free card.”

Once again, Josh had the last confessional of the episode. “Tonight’s decision at tribal is pretty huge because, if we decide to vote out John, we’re finally breaking up the five guy alliance and we are losing the big guy on our team but, if John doesn’t go home, it’s Baylor. Baylor was my first ally in this game and I know she is with me 100 percent. John is such a wild card, I don’t know. Is there an easy vote tonight? No, but I have to go with my gut and how I think I will be able to continue the farthest in this game. I have no idea if I’m making the right decision tonight.”

It’s very interesting that Josh considers Baylor to be 100 percent with him when we actually heard the cheerleader trying to form a 4 person voting bloc that didn’t include him. Baylor must have also told Jaclyn that the vote was indeed going against John which is another thing that Josh probably doesn’t know.

Tribal Council

Jeff asked John about the fall out after the conversation with Jeremy at the reward challenge.
John said that, after the merge, he would tell Jeremy that he did what he could but that Val made a bluff that she couldn’t back up.
Wes told Jeff that he didn’t like hearing that John tried to save Val but he wasn’t voted out so he was alright.
Alec was asked about the animosity at the immunity challenge. He said that Natalie was hooting and hollering at them before the ball had gone down the hoop. He added: “W can’t win so what else can we do? We can’t vote her out.”
I’m thinking they will get a chance to vote her out at some point.
John told Jeff that he wasn’t the leader of the tribe despite what Hunahpu thought.
Jaclyn told Jeff that she would be in trouble at the merge because Hunahpu thought that she and Baylor were stupid. Asked if she thought another woman would be voted out, Jaclyn answered that she was seeing some shifting of alliances happening.
That remark caught John’s attention. It’s funny that it was presented as a dumb remark; one that certainly could make John play his idol. From John’s point of view however, Jaclyn had to be talking about the plan he gave her. After all, it was John that told Jaclyn and Baylor that Dale was being voted out. John was certainly thinking that Jaclyn was alluding to that shift in alliance.
Asked what he thought of Jaclyn’s comment, Wes said it didn’t worry him, that his alliance was sticking to the game plan.
John loved hearing that.
Josh added that a lot of people didn’t know what was going on. “No one has their story straight.”
Baylor said she was hoping to get rid of the dark cloud covering them saying: “You can’t go with the flow in this game.”
Baylor is working on becoming Probst’s favorite.
Baylor added that she didn’t know if she would be getting votes.
Jaclyn now had doubts about the vote. She said the guys should grow some balls which surprised Rocker.
It was time to vote.
While Jeff was retrieving the urn, we had a shot of one of the girl’s injured knee. The camera made it look like it was Baylor’s injury by showing her face immediately after the close-up of the leg but it was Jaclyn’s knee.

Returning with the votes, Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol. The camera lingered on John, creating some tension but, while he fidgeted around, he remained seated. Everyone looked relieved.
Dale and John were surprised when a third vote turned up against the former pitcher. Then Jeff killed the suspense once more by saying: “Third person voted out” before flipping the decisive parchment. Baylor thanked god, Jaclyn smiled while Dale was shown to be disgusted.
John walked over to plant his torch in front of Jeff who snuffed it. John said: “It was well played.” (He left with a lot of class.)
Jeff’s final words the tribe: “You said you needed to change things up. Maybe this well played blindside is just what this tribe needed to turn things around.”
Josh and Baylor were shown smiling.

The Story

The episode showed us that Coyopa could change and, now that the five guys alliance has been broken, we could witness the formation of an alliance of nice people. It could very well be Coyopa’s best chance to overcome their numbers disadvantage. If they can form a “Family” type alliance from people in both tribes, then they could change the whole game and come out on top. Interestingly at this stage, we still have many contenders and the story can go in many directions.

The Characters

The episode’s figurants (since they had very little going on before then their futures look bleak.)

Reed: He probably left the island for a few days! While his association with Josh could make him a long term player if a cross-tribal “Blood” alliance forms, it’s impossible to give Reed any chances of being in contention to win the game since he is practically absent. As an actor, he must be able to give interesting confessionals but he hasn’t been heard since the very short one when Hunahpu reached their beach on Day 1.

Kelley: The recap robbed Kelley of her moment of glory from the previous episode and we only saw her laughing at Drew’s expense in this episode. If Dale gets voted out then she has no place in the post-merge family.

Jaclyn: The only good moment for Jaclyn in this episode was when she told Baylor that she wanted to go after John, not Dale. From an editing perspective, the rest of the episode killed Jaclyn’s chances. She was the true underdog in Coyopa, the next to go according to Josh whose opinion carries more weight than Alec’s, yet it was Baylor who was painted as the fighting underdog, the one that won’t go with the flow. Jaclyn wasn’t shown once doing anything to save herself. That can only be termed a disastrous showing. If that wasn’t enough, we weren’t shown how she injured her knee and that injury was made to look like it was suffered by Baylor.

Jon: While it could be said that being the MVP of the challenge gave him a good presence in this episode, there really isn’t anything to say about Jon. His challenge strength will make him a target after the merge, especially now that John is gone. His own tribe may look to eliminate him once they join members of Coyopa.

The Dumb Players: They have already killed their game.

Drew: This one is easy to call considering that Jeremy has already told us that he can’t win the million. The interesting thing to see will be how Drew gets himself voted out. The next episode could be funny.

Natalie: While she showed a lot of fight, her mouth has ended her chances of winning the game. The other tribe already wants to see her voted out so, even if by chance, she makes it to the end, she couldn’t get their votes.

Alec: Even when Wes told him about the plan to get rid of John, Alec still wanted to keep the former baseball player. Most importantly, he was shown simply going with the flow when he told Wes that they were still voting out the women but could use Baylor. It’s more likely that he will be the one that gets used.

Wes: Being Keith’s son, he could very well play a role in the “Family” that should come out of Josh’s “Blood” alliance. We heard that Coyopa’s main problem was that they didn’t communicate well before challenges and Wes was the one that not only spoke out before the reward challenge but he won it for his tribe. The problem is that Wes is presented as simply going with the flow. We were told that you can’t go with the flow in this game so I doubt that Wes will be our winner.

The Out-of-Luck Players: They shouldn’t make the merge.

Dale: His only chance was to stay inside the dominating alliance so it explains why he said he had John’s back despite everything that was said during the Immunity Challenge. Maybe that should place Dale in the Dumb Players category but what else could he do? Now, his only hope is a tribal winning streak and an early merge but we had images showing that the game is too hard for him. Dale still has to be considered the most likely to quit.

Julie: Again, some will place her in the Dumb Players category and they will get very little argument from me. She should have known that she was teamed up with a “time bomb” so she should have been up front with her tribe, saying something like: “John isn’t made for Survivor so I won’t even consider aligning myself with him at any point. I’ll always vote with you.” However, I feel that the animal imagery and the scene where we saw her receiving Missy’s comforting words are meant to tell us that she is the victim in all this. She is symbolized by the lost little bird that is going to be swallowed up by the incoming tide.

The Contenders

Jeremy: The editors are still giving us hints that Jeremy will win this game. He got that million dollar quote when we heard him say that Drew will hand him the million. That was immediately followed by the sound of the Survivor horn in a way that underlined his words. However, Jeremy’s only chance is for the singles to take control of this game but it doesn’t seem that he sees it since he has done nothing to get Julie in his alliance. She should be his surest ally once she sees that Coyopa booted John but I feel that Jeremy will feel indebted to Coyopa and boot her instead of any of their loved ones. If a “Blood” alliance forms out of members of both tribes, creating a “Family” of “Nice People” that will try to get to the end together, then it’s troubling that Keith, the leading candidate for the “Strict Father” role, was shown with machete in hand, ready to get Jeremy out of his way. I think that Jeremy is the fake trail, the big character that is being used to distract us from the real winner.

Missy: She is in Jeremy’s alliance, she is already presented as the “Nice Mom” of Hunahpu, the only one to show sympathy for their lost little bird and no one has raised any flags that she could flip to go with her daughter so Missy is safe and should easily make the merge. I would like to see some interaction with Keith, her counterpart in this possible “Blood” Alliance. If Missy makes it to the end, she certainly has the social game to get many votes but she will have to show that she isn’t simply going with the flow. We know that, if there is only place for one of them, Missy will jump off the platform to save her daughter.

Josh: He is probably the top contender right now for many viewers and I do see him as a clinical player that makes all the voting decisions for his tribe without looking like he is the one in charge. That should certainly enable him to fool Jeremy and most of Hunahpu at the merge. Even Wes and Alec don’t know his plans, ignoring his closeness to Baylor. His visit to Keith’s “home” told us that he could very well fit the role of the “Good Son” in Keith’s Family but Josh is an alligator, a predator that is ready and willing to kill all his opponents. The problem is that we know that Josh has a blind spot when it comes to Baylor. He sees her as a vote in his pocket, someone that can even receive a random vote without complaining, but we know that Baylor is in “Fight-for-Herself” mode and she has already made plans that didn’t include him. Considering that “Clinical Players” usually have a monopoly on strategic confessionals, it could be an indication that, while going far, Josh isn’t our winner.

Keith: In this episode, Keith came across as well as Rudy and JT did at the start of their seasons. He is truly a likeable character and, being on the tribe with a numbers advantage, he shouldn’t be in any trouble before the merge. The “Strict Father” was shown in his confessional where he said he’d whoop Drew for being so lazy. He got along very well with the “gay guy from New York” so he will be in a prime position to have the numbers at the merge to strike against Jeremy, the only one that stands in his way... that is if he doesn’t launch his attack sooner. Again, the numbers show that Hunahpu could get rid of any of their strong guys without danger so why not go after Jeremy now? (I always said that one of Tom’s best moves was to instill such a good team spirit in Koror that they didn’t even consider eliminating him before the merge. They were going to be up 8-4 so why boot Willard and not Tom?) I really like Keith’s chances of winning this whole thing. When a Father figure faces the jury, he usually wins.

Baylor: I think that, despite all the other big characters of this episode, the one that really came across well was Baylor with her “Fight for herself” attitude, her alliance attempts with Wes, Alec and Jaclyn, and the inclusion of Jaclyn in the vote against John. She was presented as the underdog that was in big danger so we saw her doing all the right things to change the game. Unlike Josh, she had no reservations in booting John because his display at the challenge was “mean and scary”. The “good daughter” isn’t going with the flow which is a rare quality for such a young woman in this game. Like I wrote above, it could simply mean that she will end up like Erinn and Ciera but she has a big advantage over the two: She is playing with the tribe’s leader and not against him. To save herself, Erinn angered many future jurors while Ciera ran into a strong alliance of veteran players. Baylor is already inside her tribe’s alliance and she has possible allies on the other side. Jeremy’s words at the Reward Arena presented her as a strong woman that had to change things up and she did exactly that. So, along with Keith and Josh, we have to consider Baylor as a top contender.

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30. "The Odd Couple ... "
LAST EDITED ON 10-11-14 AT 06:54 PM (EST)

I agree. San Juan del Sur has a very definite familial undertone.

And I, too, think of the laconic Keith as the Season's paternal icon. But I do see his role as less the strict parent (although that aspect of his character has certainly been explored) and more as an expansive, inclusive (visionary and strategic) figure. For instance, even when discussing Drew's laziness and his proposed remedy, the context was inclusive: parent | child.

However, after this last Episode, I think of Josh - not as a child of Keith's household - but as Keith's counterpart: the familial structure's possessive and exclusive (shrewd and discriminating - tactical) maternal presence.

And I realize, that because we are so accustomed to associating personalities | roles with specific genders, it is difficult to see Josh - maternally. But the Exile Island back-and-forth confessionals, the banter between the two men, the content and context of both - in fact, the whole of the interlude - seemed to me to suggest a (surprisingly pleasant) visit between complementary and equally impressive heads-of-household.

And, perhaps, to suggest a pending alliance?

Thank you once again, Michel.


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32. "RE: The Odd Couple ... "
Thank you, Georgianna for your comments.

I don't know if you ever read Lady V's Family Final 4 posts over at Sucks.

Even if the posters there often stretch things to make the players fit into the roles, I think she did a great job of defining those roles. She doesn't limit them to gender and has often put a woman in a male role and vice versa.

This is taken from her posts:

FATHER = Someone who is concerned with the physical protection of the others on the tribe (protection from the elements, starvation, dehydration, exhaustion); action-oriented; executes plans; goes out and does; hunts/fishes/ tries to ensure safety (of others)... Lets not forget "authority". Fathers are also typically the main authority figure in their tribe.

MOTHER = Someone who is concerned with nurturing others on the tribe, preparing food, tending camp, responding with feeling to crises. Concern for tribal harmony, tribemates' feelings (including soothing boo boos), nurturing, nest-making and nest-tending, food preparation...

SON = Someone who is concerned with ensuring self is treated as an adult, competitive with father figures, friendly with mother figures, struggling to prove competence. Competitive with sibling.

DAUGHTER = Someone who is concerned with tribal harmony, fun, is generally pleasant to be around.

I don't think we have seen Josh comforting anyone. The scene where he told Baylor why he voted for her wasn't really comforting because Baylor said it made him look sketchy. Sons are usually the schemers so I do see Josh as a true son. When he went after John, Coyopa's Father/provider, Josh showed the son's main trait of being competitive with the father.

When Keith asked Josh if he wanted to go look for snails, it fulfilled his role as provider and it made it sound like a father taking his son out to teach him how to hunt.

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36. "RE: The Odd Couple ... "
LAST EDITED ON 10-13-14 AT 09:00 PM (EST)

Michel ...

I've read quite a bit of material at SS. But not the thread that you've mentioned. So, I'll begin my response with some basic observations with which I think you'll agree:

1) Not every natural (biological) parent who plays the Game is portrayed within it as a parental character - Father or Mother.

2) Not every individual who is portrayed within the Game as a parental figure is - biologically - a parent.

3) Not every paternal or maternal character within the Game is given a counterpart - mother or father - and/or a family - sons or daughters.

4) Not every player who the audience may - via edit - come to identify as a 'mother' or 'father' or 'son' or 'daughter' is an exemplar of the stereotype's most positive - or most recognizable - traits.

In other words:

It seems to me that not every Survivor 'mother' is nest-making or nest-tending. Or nice. Not every Survivor 'father' is protective. Or successful. Not every Survivor 'son' is competitive. Or striving. And not every Survivor 'daughter' is fun. Or likeable. And while I realize that I'm stating the obvious (or, at least, I think that I am ... ) , I've said these things to point out that neither the editorial selection nor the editorial treatment of the Game's familial character types is uniform | boilerplate from Season to Season. Nor is the audience's impression of them.

For instance: In post-Cagayan Finale interviews, castmembers (including, Trish and Tony) indicated their surprise that Tony's edit revealed so little of his extraordinary efforts to provde for his tribe | alliance. And others of the cast expressed their surprise that Trish was edited as 'nurturing'. So, what are we to conclude about the two? Were Trish and Tony - editorially - a 'mother' and/or a 'father'? Were we meant to think of them as a parental 'couple'?

So, while I think that the definitions of the roles that you've cited are helpful and certainly applicable to some individuals in some Seasons, I also think that even if one could take Lady V’s profiles to the bank- every single Season – I would still be confused by your characterization of the edited relationship of Keith and Josh as that of a father and son. Because, not in his brief encounter with Keith on Exile Island or anywhere in the Season as a whole, do I remember any behavior or dialogue that would indicate that Josh’s character is “Someone who is concerned with ensuring self is treated as an adult, competitive with father figures, friendly with mother figures, struggling to prove competence. Competitive with sibling.”

ETA: I don't think that John Rocker was edited as a father figure. But that's a whole 'nuther post.

Quite the opposite: I see Josh as Coyopa's harmony - provider. A consensus – taker. A secrets - collector. A tribal - nucleus who, from its beginning, the majority of its residents have gone to for information, guidance and a voice in the conduct of village affairs. A leader.

But certainly not a forthright, upfront, make-no-bones-about-it father figure. Rather, a far more emotionally-invested, intuitive, manipulative and cynical – sketchier – parental figure who is not always particularly trustworthy but who, at least initially and often paradoxically, inspires trust.

Some other examples:

James (Miller), Danni, Jaime, GC, JT, Cirie, Trish, Sophie, Dawn Meehan and Spencer.

So, although you know that I have my own criteria for establishing a player’s inclination to adopt a maternal role, I am the first to admit that certainly not everyone so identified ultimately appears in the part. In fact, the majority don’t. And more than a few who don’t appear on my list of most likely candidates are cast as ‘Mom’. But, if the edit tells us early in the Season (in confession or in conversation or in deed), that this is the person who ‘everyone goes to’ - as opposed to the person who 'everyone follows' - then I am fairly certain that we’re seeing that Season's - or one of that Season's - 'Mother(s)’.

Too, I don’t see the “odd couples” with whom you and others have compared Keith and Josh (Rudy | Hatch and JT | Stephen) as Father and Son teams. Do you?

Thank you, again, for doing this for us,


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10-13-14, 10:40 PM (EST)
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37. "RE: The Odd Couple ... "
I agree with you on most of your observations except the 3rd. Every long term parental figure is given a family. If they don't then they aren't long for the game.

A great example of that was Monica in One World who wanted to mother her tribe but no one wanted it. Colton even stated that the reason she went first was because she was smothering him.

And maybe this applies to point 4 but they have a rule that if someone is mixed, showing different traits, then they aren't long for the game.

I saw Keith's offer to Josh to go look for snails as a very father/son like moment in that it is the role of the father to teach his son to hunt, to fend for himself.

I don't know if it matters but Birdlady, a long time contributor to the Family Final 4 thread had this to write after the latest episode:

"Keith and Missy totally for dad and mom. (Keith may even be Josh's dad.) Right now one big happy family, except for Julie...
Coyopa: Josh wants to be Father, and woefully childlike at it...

And, if you are interested, last season Lady V wrote that Tony was a Father and Trish a Mom.

As for the other odd couples, I went back to the SS thread and saw that they had Hatch as Father, Rudy as Mother (He'd love that!) while JT is listed as Father and Stephen the son.

Accurate? In part, maybe. Of course, all this is very subjective so your views are just as good as mine and theirs. I can certainly agree that Josh's desire to be the person that people go to is very Motherly. Maybe it's a sign that he is a Hybrid and cannot win because he won't be trusted.

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39. "RE: The Odd Couple ... "
LAST EDITED ON 10-14-14 AT 02:55 AM (EST)

Thank you, Michel.

I've taken a quick look at Family Final Four and it is very subjective, isn't it?

It appears that, rather than to explore the nuances of the four | five principal roles, familial designations are simply shuffled from Episode to Episode to conform to shifting circumstances. One would be tempted to think that CBS has published Chameleons Wanted! Psychological Gymnasts Considered! on the Survivor site.

But, I think the premise would probably be a fun way to explore a Season. And I do intend to go back. If for nothing more than to track down Gabon's winner. I am dying to know what-in-the-devil they called Bob.

I'm curious, too, about Lady V. Do you know if (she) is known by any other name within the spoiling community? The writing style feels familiar.

ETA: I wonder if watching (and analyzing) the show through a traditional family lens is - given the fundamentally altered demographics of its primary audience and emphases of its editing patterns - any longer practical?


PS: There is a Sign that with absolute - nothing but the numbers - objectivity indicates that Josh is very unlikely to become this Season's winner. But its label doesn't read Hybrid ...

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31. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
Rocker said in the first show about needing to get Wes out of the game. He never did. And wasn't their some kind of chopping going on after Tony talking about trusting Kass last year implying Kass was going to chop him off last season? Kass finished third, he won. I don't want to think those bird cues or chopping means much. Its just symbolism of the moment with Julie and what is planned but may not happen and that Jeremy and Keith could soon be against each other but not so much Keith could cut Jeremy off but the other way also is an option. Also, Morgan never got rid of LJ last season.
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10-12-14, 12:37 PM (EST)
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33. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
Rocker's failure to eliminate Wes doesn't mean that none of those comments have importance. I think that, by saying he'd go after Wes when Wes wasn't a threat, then it foreshadowed that Wes would be the one blindsiding John.

Now, of course that could mean that Jeremy will turn things around on Keith but I had to mention the machete when it coincided so perfectly with what Keith was saying. Last season was all about distracting us from Tony's obvious road to victory. (I think it was Spencer holding the machete.) It's still early to have a true picture of the season's story but the upcoming episode's boot should give us some answers. I'm taking it slow and steady!

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10-13-14, 09:48 AM (EST)
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34. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
LAST EDITED ON 10-13-14 AT 09:49 AM (EST)

Stellar interpretation of the editing, michel, as always. I love how you flesh out things like noting the family theme developing in the season. I also like Georgianna's take that Keith and Josh were as a couple, one more paternal, the other more maternal. It will be fun to see if this is developed further in the show. Michel has provided an excellent blow by blow with the editing, I loved that you spotted the bird being swallowed by the wave and associating it with Julie. I agree, Julie has been left out to "dry"...Also, that it was Jacklyn's knee edited to be Baylor's...what the heck!

So, I am going to comment on where the editing is taking me as a viewer....right or wrong:

I do try and pay attention to a lot of the editing because it really can be defining in leading you to the right boot choices, and telling the story of the late game players. (The story from the winners point of view). Right now this season is ALL over the place, they are a train wreck. Clearly Josh and Baylor are getting the better edits on Coyopa. However, Josh appears to be all over the place and shown to throw his closest allies under the bus on more than several occasions...not smart. First he gambles with votes toward Baylor, not once but twice, then he does stab his big strong shield in the back. He's unpredictable, he is shown to be untrustworthy, he's flighty... if I were there, I would want to vote him out.

Josh also got a lot of confessionals when he was with Keith on EI. Noting how stress free and truly enjoyable it was to spend time with someone from a completely different walk of life, etc. But, this is contrasting to him being aligned with Rocker, also from a completely different walk of life, then stabbing him in the back. It wouldn't have been a big deal that he chose not to trust Rocker and vote him out, if we hadn't just heard in the last episode that no matter how bad he was he still really wanted to align with him because he was good for his game. This underlines the fact that Josh is flighty, and unpredictable to me. He says one thing and is shown to do another thing. We were shown those confessionals that he made stating how Baylor was his ally, and how no matter what John has done, he's good for my game, for a REASON. To emphasize that he thinks one thing and does another. It casts serious doubt that Josh can win this game for me...(I suppose he could show incredible growth and mature, perhaps he's being edited as a young teen who is trying to make his way among his peers while he's trying to break away from mom and dad, all the while making bad choices but learning from them and eventually making the right choice?)

Then, Baylor, she's shown to have trusted him not once but 3 times. After the first 2 times she said she wouldn't trust anybody....clearly, she must have Josh's number, but I don't think so. A LUCKY, or gullible, or desperate, or dumb player, imo. She seems to have lights on, but I don't know if she is really home. If I was misled by someone that I entrusted in the game, I would definitively cross them off...I would not forget. I would do anything to keep my head above water. She seems reactive, not proactive. She says in confessional: "I think I have officially woken up in this game....It's now a Baylor fight for herself in this game, not rely on Josh. I was almost completely blindsided tonight. I don't trust anyone but I am still open to playing this game with anybody."

We did see her "trying" to make headway with others, but it didn't appear successful to me. Then when Josh, who she states she cannot rely on, suggests an option, she goes for it with gusto. In other words, it just seemed that once again she blindly follows Josh with whatever he says. This time, it worked out for her, but not because of anything she did or didn't do.

Meanwhile, at Hunahpu, Jeremy had the best edit in the intro. So much so I was wondering if he would have the Tom Westman type edit. However, he's gone steadily down hill for me, as has the tribe. This whole John Rocker thing has made a fool of him, imo. Rocker is the one that got the better edit. Granted, whether he's a prejudiced jacka$$ or not, (I never knew him at all so it's all hearsay to me), all the hate surrounds a controversial article, written in the press (and we all know they don't embellish, fabricate, or rant to muster up controversy at all) years ago. I think people deserve the benefit of the doubt and until you see first hand who they are, best to keep your mouth shut. Regardless, if Jeremy knew all along who he said Rocker was, why did he trust him to deal with in the first place? Then, no matter what Rocker would say, Jeremy had judged, convicted, and sentenced him as soon as he saw Val was gone. It was Jeremy that stirred the pot, to a very immature, abrasive, young tribe. Jeremy to me is coming off like a villain...igniting the fire/smoke screen, while he sits back and reaps the rewards, all the while making fun of his own tribe.

He seems like a really smug guy, especially when he talks crap about the guys in his tribe. Let's face it, Drew is not getting a good edit, but I do think there was more substance to Jon. Reed is being hidden...not included in any of Jeremy's smack talk. I think Jeremy has vilified Julie as well, just by being affiliated with Rocker. So, while I thought Jeremy may have a good chance to win this game, for me, he's not being edited as a "good" guy. He is causing himself and his entire tribe to be edited into just what they say Rocker is accused of least fueling an apparently unjustified attack. For me, someone assessing Rocker for just what I see him doing on my television, I don't see him as a smart player. He has a mouth, but clearly he was verbally assaulted by the other team that apparently has judged him for some things that happened many years before, which I can see how he feels compelled to say something back to them. Let's face it, we have heard players antagonize opponents before, this is nothing new...I don't think it's the "worst" thing you can do in this game, clearly not the best thing for your personal game, but that goes along with him not being a "smart" player. But, he was a man of his word, he went to Val and told her his plan, she was the stupid one that didn't come clean with him. So, from my point of view, Jeremy and the Hunahpu's look far more judgmental, vindictive, and revengeful than Rocker ever did.

This episode made me think that Jeremy is a selfish, smug, vengeful and arrogant guy. He puts down everyone that is not in his alliance in his confessionals...what do they say? Insecure people make fun of and put others down to make themselves feel bigger and better? I don't know if a winner can recoup from this beginning or not. (Just as you see that Natalie has shot herself in the foot by being so verbally abrasive).

The ones that I think that are being edited as keeping their mouths shut and not prejudging are the ones that may have more of a chance in this show. So far, it's Keith the oldest and saltiest guy there, whose edit is looking better and better, imo. Older and wiser, perhaps. Georgianna had a nice observation regarding him with this quote...

"I am beginning to think that Keith may well be this Season's Sole Survivor.
And, if he is, I would offer this as the Winning Quote:
Give me a day or two and we’ll figure all this out ... "

The worse his tribe mates appear, the better he looks. We LIKE him, and I really think that the winner has got to be someone they like.

Others that may stand a chance are Reed, Jon, or Missy. Reed is totally under the radar, keeping his mouth and opinions to himself, and he's not been put down by Jeremy in confessionals. Compared to his partner, however, he really doesn't seem to have as much substance. Jon, while he is someone that Jeremy puts down, his confessional about his father did show us there is more to him. He listened to Jeremy when Jeremy exposed Rocker, and I do feel that there is far more to him than Miss Michigan. Missy is the compassionate, empathetic one on the tribe, and that is a good thing, with this group. She seems smarter than her daughter, to me, at least at this time, but clearly her weak point or achilles heel is her daughter as we were shown in the sumo challenge. Time will tell.

Just some impressions on the season's characters...

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35. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
Thank you, FP,

I enjoyed reading your views of the players very much. I was very hesitant to be as negative as you about Jeremy because, well, it was "Off-his-Rocker" after all and I knew him during his playing days. However, you make great points about his "Villainous" side. Maybe I was hoping to see another Earl but I don't think he is playing anywhere near as good a social game as the King of Fiji.

I remember what Stephen and Taj said after the merger in Tocantins. They wondered why Brandon and Sierra didn't come to talk to them. Is it possible that we don't hear any alliance talks between Jeremy, Missy, Kelley, Natalie and Keith because there are none. Like Brandon, Jeremy could want to hide his alliance so much that he winds up killing it. You have to keep contact with your allies as much as possible, reassuring them always that things are still on track. He could be on cruise-control and wake up only when he hits the wall.

What you wrote: "I never knew him at all so it's all hearsay to me" should certainly have crossed Natalie's mind. She never even read the article yet she was the most vehement.

I do however think you are a bit too negative on Baylor. The editors are doing everything they can to make us like her so that is something we should keep in mind. Instead of saying that she relied on Josh (which is the actual truth of what happened on the island) I saw the story as Josh finally coming to his senses while Baylor had been there all along. The same could be said of the night scene where Alec rejected Baylor's plan, saying they could lie to her and still use her. Her expression of disbelief was telling us that those boys didn't know what they were talking about, that she was using them.

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10-13-14, 11:02 PM (EST)
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38. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
Thanks for the feedback, michel. Regarding Baylor and question that they are being favorited by the editing, but it's just that they are coming across to me as a "hot mess"...really a fitting term, lol! Both of them can show growth and maturation when they start like they have...and, who knows, the promos seem to imply that Hanahpu is going to self destruct a bit as well.

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10-14-14, 11:33 AM (EST)
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40. "RE: Episode 3 - Making Changes"
First, thanks for the shout out Michel! I really like the "family" analogy. It does seem like the survivors are going that route this season and that the singles won't take over.

FloPo - Jeff did say in preseason press (I think with EW) that there are a lot of twists and turns this season and that you really don't know who's going to win. (Of course, that could be typical Jeff hyperbole). I keep thinking back to how Tony was edited. I discounted him early on and never considered him a contender because he was so manic and frenetic. If Josh and Baylor get to the end being a "hot mess," then we know that's how they will be portrayed. And after Tony's win, anything is possible!

I think I need to pay more attention to the editing this year!

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10-14-14, 01:55 PM (EST)
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41. "Additionally..."
I hear you loud and clear, CTGirl! I, too, discounted Tony at first, but quickly realized he was playing circles around the people that he played with. This time I don't get the feeling that Josh and Baylor are playing circles around anybody but more they are barely hanging on. But, as I have said, there is certainly room for much growth and maturation in both of them!

I wanted to add on to my earlier thoughts as Jeremy as a villain since the new promo has aired. Jeremy stating that he wants to vote out Keith because he cannot be trusted, distinctly pits Jeremy against our comic relief. Interesting.

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10-18-14, 03:55 PM (EST)
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42. "Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
In the recap, Jeff told us that everything was going right for Keith. He got a clue to an idol and, after protecting Val at Exile Island, he gained an ally in her husband, Jeremy...
(We heard Jeremy mention the brotherhood of firefighters)
... but the rest of his tribe was struggling. Jon lost their flint and Drew simply lost his energy. At the last immunity challenge, they beat Coyopa again and finally John Rocker’s past caught up with him.

At Tribal Council, Coyopa continued to fall apart... (We heard Jaclyn’s comment about shifting alliance and the need for guys to grow balls) ...The men’s alliance crumbled and John wasn’t the only one blindsided (Dale).

This is probably the weirdest recap in recent memory. It was as if last week’s scene at Exile Island never happened because we never saw Josh and Keith interacting. That means the hilarious scene cannot be as important as we thought, that it really only served for comic relief. Still, for some reason, we are told that things were going right for Keith. Did he blow it now that he lost Jeremy’s trust?

The comment that Hunahpu is struggling really stood out because they really hadn’t been in any kind of difficulty up to now. Also, Coyopa continued to fall apart so we can assume that neither tribe will succeed, that our end players will come from remnants of both tribes. It was interesting to see that Jaclyn was the only one heard at Tribal Council when it came time to switch the game, to grow some balls.

Good Play, Girls

Coyopa – Night 8
Baylor was the one interviewed about the big move. She was ecstatic when she said: “Tonight, John got voted out! Yay! Kudos to the team. He was the biggest, strongest guy on our tribe but I feel, more importantly, you have to have a positive team. John’s attitude being removed will help us. Unfortunately, that leaves Dale on the outs.”

The next days’ events will prove that she was right; the vote appeared to have helped the tribe. I noticed however how this scene completely ignored Josh and his role in the whole thing. It was the biggest move of the season up to now and he had made it happened but it was “Kudos to the team”. Going by the recap and then hearing Baylor’s confessional, it makes it seem as if only the two women benefitted from it. It’s as if Jaclyn got the men to break up their alliance and that Baylor’s idea of a positive team prevailed.

Dale’s interview: “I probably got comfortable in our five-guy alliance and probably let the social game slide a little bit. I have to put more effort in trusting people because, as of right now, if we lose the next immunity, I’m toast. ”

Hunahpu – Day 9

The tribe was waking up and Natalie was tending fire when, like magic, the flint appeared at her feet.

Did anyone think it was planted there? We had seen the tribe looking all over the fire pit and raking the ground. Did they really miss it or was it production’s idea to spice up the episode a bit? However it happened, it did lead to a funny scene at the arena.

Drew had a confessional: “The other day, we lost our flint and we had to forfeit the fishing gear we’d won to get a new one. It really aggravated me because I’m a big fisherman and I definitely could provide for the tribe, but now, I am literally starving to death.”

He told the tribe that he would barter with Jeff.

It led to Kelley’s interview: “Drew is a lot of talk, let’s be honest. He says he can do all these amazing things then he sleeps for four hours but all we can hear from Drew is “Fishing gear, fishing gear; We should have gotten the fishing gear.”
Someone said the fishing gear was gone.

Soon, Drew would follow! We will see evidence that Drew and Kelley couldn’t stand each other throughout the episode. Every time Drew said something, we would either hear Kelley commenting it or we would see an expression that left little doubt about her thoughts. The events would give Kelley a much better role than Drew but, now that he is gone, what role is left for our farmer’s daughter?

Kelley was on our screens when we heard Drew say that he couldn’t survive on the same portions as a 100 pound girl. He added that a good leader would make decisions that others don’t want to do, in this case, barter with Jeff. The interview ended with Drew saying that, without him, these people would be nothing.

I guess we will have a chance to see how it turns out.

The Reward Challenge

Hunahpu saw that John had been voted out. Many were seen clapping. Jon even stood up. Julie told Jeff that she wasn’t surprised, that she knew that if he continued that way, she would have to be blind to it and be with her team.

Drew interrupted Jeff and showed him the brand new flint. Our host smiled at that and, while he teased him about making a new trade, it soon became apparent that all trades were final.
Kelley was the most vocal about Drew’s actions, saying that he was being dumb. She wanted no part of this negotiation.

In this sequence, it was evident that the Hunahpu women, led by Kelley, thought the trade talks were ridiculous while most of the men, by actively participating in it (Reed asked Jeff for his return policy while Jon said that it felt like they were being taunted) looked dumb. There is a feel developing to this season that the men aren’t very bright, that the women are the smart ones. Could it be setting up a female winner?

Jon decided to do the challenge, going up against Jaclyn.
While Jon had trouble early, Miss Michigan did well. (Dale said that Jon tosses like a girl). Jon soon recovered the lead but he had trouble with the last ball so Jaclyn tied him at 4-4 for a while until, finally, Jon won the reward.

Before she left, the couple had a touching moment when Jon said she was tough enough to handle exile Island. With Drew volunteering, Jon had no problems making his decision. He sent his “boyfriend” to accompany his girlfriend to Exile Island. He explained that Drew could pull his weight “when he isn’t napping”. To Jaclyn’s ear, Jon whispered that “(Drew) is a good guy.”

Alec’s interview was used to narrate the situation: “We are dying to win. I want to win so bad. We are desperate and, continuing to lose, we are on the ropes. Are we going to be able to pick ourselves up or are we going to be the worst tribe in Survivor history? Who knows?”

Alec’s role would suddenly increase in this episode. Before reading too much into it, I think it was just a way to connect the pair of Loved Ones, to remind the audience that Alec was Drew’s brother, that he would soon be the most shocked by the upcoming vote. Next week will show if Alec’s turn in the spotlight was only to prepare us for his reaction at the arena or if it is the start of a new story arc. While we were wrong to think there would be a confrontation between the brothers, we were right to think that Alec would outlast his “Drewchebag” of a brother.


When the tribe returned, we heard Jon and his tribe agreeing that Jaclyn was tough and that she would handle Exile Island.
It’s always good for a player’s future to hear people talking positively about them so I noted that people liked “Michigan” and saw her as a strong woman.

Jon gave an interview: “I have mixed emotions about how I feel sending Drew with Jaclyn on Exile Island. He is somebody that I do trust, but if Drew is anything like he is at camp, Jaclyn might be doing most of the firewood collecting but I think she can handle it.”

The conversation soon turned to Rocker’s elimination so the camera went to Julie. Asked how she felt, Julie said she was alright: “I want to move on and it lets me play the game. I don’t have to worry about him.”

Julie in confessional: “Seeing my boyfriend John voted out was hurtful just to know that everybody was anti-John Rocker, the love of my life, but things like this happen all the time with John, where he is automatically judged from day 1 so I kind of prepared myself. To be without him right now is such a desperate feeling. All I can do is try my best and get myself back in the game.”

The vote would prove that she got herself back in the game, at least for now. While I maintain that she should have said something like this to her tribe BEFORE John was voted out, it was nice to hear her say that she knew it would happen and that she was playing for the team, not him.

Exile Island – Day 9

The body wasn’t cold yet but vultures were already feasting when Drew and Jaclyn arrived at Exile Island. The editors weren’t making it hard to tell that the “Drewchebag” was going to be eliminated. It’s often the case when a “Dumb Player” gets voted out; the episode is set up so that the audience can enjoy the fall.

Drew had an interview to say that Exile Island sucked.
When the two picked urns, we had our first sighting of a snake. There would be many more during the night.

Drew got the clue and read it to Jaclyn.

It looked a lot less detailed than the one that Josh and Keith received. The parchment had only two pictures. What does it mean? Is there a new location for the idol? If so, does that mean there is a second idol at Hunahpu?

In addition to the clue, Drew was happy to be with Miss Michigan even if he wasn’t there to find a girlfriend, especially not with one of his buddy’s girl.

Jaclyn told us that Alec had informed her about Drew’s reputation with the ladies.

It was quite funny to hear Drew say that he hadn’t tried to work the ladies’ man angle too much considering it would be the ladies that would vote him out.

Drew told Jaclyn that Jon was afraid of being voted out by the women of Hunahpu.

Jaclyn gave an interview: “Alec told me that his brother is a ladies’ man. Ha! But I’m not worried about him. I’m just thinking about the game. With Drew, I want to figure out what’s going on and collaborate.”

When she told him that she was afraid of what would happen if they lost again, Drew said he wouldn’t let them lose again, that he was going to throw the next game. He added: “There are snakes on our team that have to go.”

In confessional, Drew said that all the girls in his tribe looked untrustworthy. He added: “In the long run, they have no chance to compete against us.”

Since Drew would be wrong about so many things in this episode, can we say that this remark aired to give us a hint that the women will not only compete against them but come out on top?

The scene ended with a helicopter shot of Drew standing on the big rock in the ocean, saying he wanted to start whittling down the numbers on his tribe to win the million dollars. This shot, often reserved for winners, can also quite amusingly, show us “The Fool on the Hill.”

Hunahpu – Day 9

It is important to note that we still haven’t been in Coyopa since the almost obligatory “Black and White Survivor” scene at the start of the episode.

The first image we had was of Jon “getting used” to resting in the hammock. Keith used the time to go look for the idol. Looking at his position with respect to the well, we could tell right away that he wasn’t going to find it there.

Keith (solo): “The other day on Exile Island, I got a clue that there was an idol over here by the well. So, I came here, kicked around, dug around to see, but I couldn’t find it.” (More snakes were shown) “I dug around the sand for about 30 minutes and I thought that I was wasting my time. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m a day late and a dollar short. It looks like somebody’s already been through there. I think I might got beat to the punch.”

He told Missy, Reed and Natalie that he had a clue to the idol but that it wasn’t there so that Jeremy had to have the idol. “Jeremy’s got an idol” he said.

While the snake who had been observing Keith slithered away, Reed went directly to Jeremy to give him the scoop on Keith: “Keith just told the tribe that you have an idol.”
Jeremy couldn’t believe it but Reed told him that it was true.

Wasn’t it odd that it was Reed who told Jeremy? Why not Missy or Natalie, the ones who are aligned with the firefighter? With the snake shown moving from one scene to the next, the whole thing made Reed look like a snitch. The worst is that the revelation didn’t help him in the least to get into “Jeremy’s” alliance.

Jeremy in confessional: “Here I am thinking that I have Keith with me but now I find out that he is telling everybody that I have the idol. I’m pissed. I mean, we are both firefighters. I told you I had your back. If you think I have an idol, why didn’t you just come to me? Don’t you think that we are on the same page? We could have used it together. Keith was chilling; he wasn’t on anyone’s radar but now, I want him gone because Keith; you are a rat.”

In the middle of this confessional, we heard Jeremy telling Jon and Reed that Keith had been searching all around and was baffled that he was putting it on him.

By sundown, we saw Keith returning to the well while we heard him say in confessional: “I got to thinking that idols are important to this game and they are a good thing to have around. So I said, well, I’ll go back. Maybe I wasn’t due North or 7 steps. I prodded around a little more” (I smiled when the idol practically jumped out at him!) “I thought it had already done been found but obviously not. As a matter of fact, it almost jumped out at me, kinda scared me. I’m probably not going to tell anybody that I have the idol because the last thing I need is a target on my back. I’m not a brain surgeon but if everybody thinks Jeremy has it, that could be good for me.”

Isn’t this a wonderful way to show that Keith really needs to take his time to figure things out? It’s not only his words now that tell us he will figure it out in a few days: We actually saw him figure out that he was wrong and he was able to correct himself. His bumbling, fumbling ways may yet be good for him just like having people think Jeremy has the idol could work out nicely.

Coyopa – Day 10

We could almost say finally but it was rather an inconsequential scene, at least for the tribe as a whole.

Baylor and Alec went to get tree mail. Alec told Baylor not to snatch it from him. They argued a bit like brother and sister with Baylor saying: “You are being a woman right now.”

Baylor in confessional: “Alec feels like a little brother sometimes to me even if he is two years older. He likes to boss me around a little bit so I’ve had to bite my tongue a bunch.”

Alec read the note but he was so hesitant that the group didn’t understand what he said. Josh asked him to read it one more time so that he could get it. Baylor snatched the note from Alec and read it. Alec looked quite upset.

Alec in confessional: “Baylor does things here and there that kind of get on my nerves and I’m not going to let her get away with it. She makes it seem like, in her life, everything is given to her just like it was for Drew but she isn’t my brother so I’m going to call her on every single thing she does. As a kid, my dad didn’t go wake Drew up to wash cars because he knew Drew wouldn’t be worth a damn. He came to wake me up. I had to work hard for everything I’ve gotten and I think that, in the end, it made me a stronger person. I think sharing that knowledge with others might be what we need to do. Get everybody on the same page and just believe that we can beat the other tribe. David can beat Goliath.”

It seemed that Baylor hadn’t cleaned the pot properly so Alec got her to go back to wash it again. “Don’t half-##### it. If you didn’t half-##### it, you wouldn’t have to do it twice” he told her. When he explained that he was being tough on her because that’s how he was taught, Baylor simply answered: “Thanks, bro.”

It’s very good for Alec to come out of his brother’s shadow this way, to be disassociated from the episode’s dumb player. Before Drew left, we finally got to know Alec a little and he explained the main difference between the two was that he always woke up to do the job while we saw that his brother’s worst trait was to sleep instead of working. After this confessional, we have to keep an eye on Alec and see where his story will lead him. Can this David beat Goliath? Maybe but Goliath didn’t throw the fight. As for Baylor, it has to worry her fans a bit that we heard she is a lot like Drew, used to getting everything handed to her. Now, her story can only lead her to victory if we clearly see that she doesn’t half-##### it. Maybe she will have her “bro” Alec to thank in the end.

The Immunity Challenge

We had a confessional from Drew in which he wondered if he would throw the challenge. He knew people would hate him for it but he felt it had to be done.

Kelley sat out because she preferred doing puzzles. Jeremy and Jon joined her on the bench.

During the swim, Jeff was most vocal about Alec who was “making up a lot of time. That is how you do it.”

Alec’s role is still growing.

The 4 swimmers retrieved the rings, so it was mainly up to Dale and Josh for Coyopa to toss them on the post while Drew insisted on throwing them for Hunahpu. It was evident that he was throwing it because the rings were flying all over the place. Jeff even said that Drew was single-handedly losing it for his tribe. Dale made the final throw and Coyopa won their first immunity challenge.

After apologizing to the tribe, Drew said in confessional that he had thrown it to get rid of the snakes. He added his own, warped, version of leadership: “If I don’t want to win, we are not going to win and that is what makes me the kingpin of our tribe.”

Hunahpu – Day 10

Once more, we heard Drew apologizing to his tribe before telling us that he had been looking for an opportunity to throw the challenge. He added: “Basically, I’m a badass and a manipulator of this game.”

In case we hadn’t gotten the message yet, the editors threw in another scene of vultures eating rotting flesh. The Drewchebag was toast.

Before Drew explained his plan, we heard Jon talking to Missy, Reed and Keith: “Here’s my idea: I fear that, going into the merge, the individuals are going to outnumber the couples (we see Julie and Natalie as examples of individuals to target) So we need to take out people that don’t have a loved one right now.” With them agreeing, Jon added: “That’s why I think Julie is an easy vote and she hurts our team.”

Reed concurred: “And she was kind of worthless at the challenge today.”

Well, maybe not as worthless as Drew!

Jon in an interview: “My argument today was that Julie should be the one to go. She hasn’t really been helping in challenges and she doesn’t help around camp, it would be an easy one to agree on, but most importantly; she doesn’t have a Loved One.”

The image of Julie sun tanning on the beach was the one the editors used while Jon was saying she wasn’t working. Given that picture, it’s hard to argue against the former football player.

That’s when Drew walked in on the conversation, cutting it short by saying: “There is no good reason to vote Julie right now. Listen to me: Who is the most dangerous person in this tribe right now? Who is it? Who is going to manipulate this game and throw the stronger guys out?” No one had an answer so Drew answered his own questions: “It’s Kelley. She is the best player here.”

Most of the audience must have said “What?” when Drew named her as the most dangerous player in the tribe. It’s another good sign for Kelley but it would have been nice for us to hear her thoughts on strategy, to see her as a manipulator.

Keith agreed in part: “She knows the game but I don’t know about the player.”

In confessional, Drew explained his reasons: “Kelley...she is very low-key but, at the same time, she is very observant...she has not missed one episode of Survivor. Kelley is a threat and it is my mission to get people to vote for her tonight.”

Before Drew could explain his “mission” to Jeremy, the firefighter told him that he didn’t trust Keith. He added: “We need to have each other’s back. If someone is after you, I got your back; I’m going to go after that person. If someone is after me, I expect the same thing.”

Drew wouldn’t have it: “He’s only 1 vote so who is he going to get? You are overlooking the mastermind here and it’s Kelley.”
Could it be that the one they are overlooking is Keith?! Now that would be funny if the one that only had 1 vote and couldn’t get anyone winds up getting them all!

Jeremy gave us an interview: “This is the thing: I want Keith gone. Keith is trying to go after me so now I don’t trust him at all, but Drew? He wants to get rid of Kelley now because he thinks Kelley runs the girls which is ridiculous. She’s not doing anything.”

One has to wonder if Jeremy isn’t as blind as Drew because Keith isn’t doing anything that matters either. Is Jeremy overlooking the girl power that is forming around him?

When Drew explained the pecking order as he perceived it, Natalie objected: “There is less girls anyway.”

Jeremy’s interview continued: “With Drew, there is no back and forth. He’s just like: “Kelley is going home and that’s it. It pisses me off.”

After talking to Missy, who acted surprised to hear what Drew had said (She was with Drew when he first talked about Kelley), Natalie had a confessional: “Drew, he’s scared that the girls are going to vote out guys which is stupid. We don’t even have the numbers to do that but he is convinced of this girl-girl alliance. The guys are kind of like a mess; they are not on the same page which is good. (The confessional continued after the scene transcribed below) Getting rid of Drew; it would be so sweet if we can pull this off. He is so annoying. We have to do it now that the guys are all over the place.”

Wondering who between Drew and Jon would be long term threats to win individual immunity challenges, Natalie said it would probably be Drew. That got Missy to say: “Maybe we should get rid of Drew first.”

Is that a hint that Jon will go on an immunity run? Looking on past challenge results and the information they have on the two, Jon looks like a much more formidable opponent. I noticed also that Jeremy was shown on camera when Natalie said the guys were all over the place, an indication that he may not be so different after all. Jeremy was the 5th vote they needed to secure since they didn’t know just how messed up the guys’ votes would be but it makes me wonder if this is really Jeremy’s alliance. In this episode, it looked a lot like Jeremy was the alliance’s tool rather than its leader.

With Kelley standing just a few feet behind him, Drew told Reed and Jon that voting Kelley would be the power move. He added: “Let’s kick Kelley out tonight and then all these bitches won’t know what to do other than come to us...Trust me. Count on it.”

I thought we were back in Cook Islands, listening to “King” JP talking to Nate, Adam and Brad but Drew was even more cocky, using such a vulgar term as bitches and talking out loud near everyone. There are somethings you should never do on Survivor.

Kelley gave us an interview: “I was standing by the shelter and I heard Drew leading this charge to get me out. I was like: “What the hell!” I don’t know what it is. Maybe he’s just threatened by me as a strong female. Drew has this vision in his head and he is like the king of it and he has to be the one that gives the final decision and I think that people are getting over that really quickly.”

Natalie talked to Jeremy, telling him that Missy was down with getting rid of Drew. She added that they could get Jon, tell him that Drew is leading him the wrong path.

Just before they left for the Council, we heard Drew telling Missy that they were voting out Kelley whether she was on board with it or not. Jeremy pointed out that Kelley was sitting right there but Drew said he didn’t care. When Drew told Missy that he didn’t need to have her vote, Jon interrupted him, saying he was a #####.

This was spliced in the middle of the interview that Jeremy was giving on the way to Tribal Council.

Jeremy’s interview: “This is how it’s going right now: The girls want to get rid of Drew. Yes, he is a moron but that’s a big move and it makes me nervous. The problem is that the guys are all over the place. Drew is saying that Kelley is a player. Jon is saying that we are going after Julie and I want to get rid of Keith. It’s just crazy. Maybe we should get rid of Drew. He is digging his own grave but I’m not sure if it’s the right time.”

The images of fast moving clouds followed by a skull that preceded them to Tribal Council were an indication that this vote may not turn out to be the best decision for Jeremy.

Tribal Council

Asked who gets along, Julie pointed immediately to Jon and Drew. “They run around like they are five year olds. It’s cute.”
Asked who didn’t get along, Missy said that there were many chiefs and not enough Indians. She said probably half the tribe was selfish.
As if he knew, Jeff went to Drew when he wanted to talk about the fact that they had been winning and hadn’t voted anyone out.
Drew said everyone was playing nice until the loss where they realized they had to play this game.
Jeff wouldn’t let it go and asked how it felt to have been demolished in the challenge by someone who could be his grand-dad.
Kelley and Jeremy were amused by that but Drew simply said he did the best he could.
Jon told Jeff about the scrambling that took place when they returned to camp. He added: “Emotions got high. It was confusing.”
Jeremy explained: “Keith comes back from Exile and tells everybody that I have an idol. So I say, Keith, why don’t you come to me? We’re aligned!”
Keith said he was looking for the idol and couldn’t find it. “I assumed,” he said “I might have been wrong, that Jeremy had beaten me to the punch.” Keith added that he didn’t go to Jeremy because the firefighter could have gone to someone else.
Jeremy was adamant: “We could have kept it between me and you.”
Keith flatly said: “It doesn’t happen like that in this game. If I go to him and say Jeremy, I have an idol, the first thing in his head is let’s put his name down.”
Jeff was amused but Jeremy explained that he wouldn’t have said that because they were in an alliance. “That’s what an alliance is, Keith” he exclaimed. “We could have two people aligned and a sub-alliance with everybody else. We could have done it.”
Keith mocked him: “A sub-alliance... OK! That’s a new one.”
Jeremy answered: “It’s not a new one in Survivor.”
Everyone laughed at that.
Despite what Jeff said, Keith said it wasn’t a betrayal.
Missy countered that he was trying to pit people against Jeremy. Keith tried to explain that it wasn’t what he meant to do but Natalie told everyone what he said; making it plain that Keith was targeting Jeremy.
As if everyone ganging up on him wasn’t enough, Keith also had to worry about a crawling insect on his shoulder. His surprised reaction made everyone laugh.
Drew said he wanted to get the bad energy out and roll forward.
Kelley agreed but wondered: “Who is the bad seed in this bunch? Maybe we don’t all agree on that.”
Natalie said it would be a crucial vote; that Drew thought the girls wanted to get the guys out.
Innocently, Jeff asked: “How would the girls take out the guys? There’s only 4.”
The women all jumped in, saying: “That’s what we said.”
Drew said that no one had approached him but Kelley countered that he freaked out as soon as he got back to camp. She said: “Obviously, you have something against me.”
Natalie said: “I thought we were all on one page but everybody seems to be all scatter-brain and it’s really scary because a few stray votes can change everything.”
Jon told Jeff that he never got a full grasp of any of the strategies going around.
Jeff pointed out that it couldn’t be comforting.
Jon said he didn’t know what name to put down.
Natalie concluded by saying: “We’re a hot mess.”
It was about to get messier because Jeff sent them to vote.
When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play the idol, Keith looked nervous but he stayed put.
The vote was all over the place:
- Keith and Reed voted against Julie
- Jon voted against Keith
- Drew voted against Kelley
- The 4 women and Jeremy voted against Drew.
During the reading of the votes, we saw Natalie’s puzzlement when she saw that both Kelley and Julie received votes, underlining the stupidity of the men’s votes. The amusement was general when another stray vote was put on Keith. When the deciding vote was shown, the main reaction came from Jon who said: “Good play, girls”
Jeff left them with a question: “Was it a brilliant Tribal or absolute chaos?”

The Story

There is a developing “Girl Power” story that we saw permeating this episode. First, the strong women of Coyopa had just gotten rid of Rocker, and then we heard that Jaclyn was strong enough to endure Exile Island. In Hunahpu, even if they didn’t have the numbers, the women managed to pull off a big blindside. The way Tribal Council was presented showed that the women were much more aware of the game being played than the guys. They mostly sat back and listened, letting most of the guys make fool of themselves. Since we heard that there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, the stage is set for a follower to take the spoils from the battle between leaders. Who will it be?

A note in passing: Isn’t it strange that we heard so many guys being compared to girls? Nadiya said that Josh was one of the girls in episode 1. Dale said that Jon threw like a girl and Baylor said Alec was acting like a girl when they went to get tree mail.

The Characters

The Dumb Guys:

Dale: He may have been the challenge MVP but since it was all about Drew throwing the challenge, it didn’t really enhance his standing with the audience. His only intervention was to tell us that he had gotten comfortable in his alliance, neglecting the social game. In Survivor, that is enough to categorize him as one of the “Dumb Guys” especially since that alliance was with John “Off-his-Rocker”.

Reed: His best point was that he offered nothing that could have been mocked at Tribal Council. His worst point was that he offered nothing at Tribal Council. His first intervention in the episode was to ask Jeff about his return policy, so the joke was on him just as much as it was for Drew. Then, he was shown as a snitch, telling Jeremy what Keith had just said. Finally, when he told Jon that Julie had done nothing in challenges, the audience could well have thought: “And what have you done, whoever you are?” While clearly one of the followers, there isn’t enough substance to Reed’s story to see a winner’s arc.

Wes: Since Wes didn’t have a single thing to say in the episode, we are still seeing him as the young guy that is as mentally strong as a rock.

Alec: Even if Alec was still clinging to Rocker, wondering if it had been a good idea to vote him out, it has to be noted that Drew’s brother had a good episode. His best point was that he disassociated himself from his older brother. He told us that he had to work hard all his life mostly because his brother was so lazy. In order for his story is to continue to grow, he will have to convince the members of Hunahpu that he isn’t like his brother which is an interesting turn of events. His worst point in this episode came when Baylor said that he likes to boss her around and we know there are already too many chiefs. It sounds like the younger brother won’t fall much farther from the tree than his brother.

Jon: We’ve had indications that Jon isn’t the smartest guy around in previous episodes but, in this one, his comment at Tribal Council showed that he is in over his head. As Jeff pointed out, it can’t be a good thing to enter Tribal Council without knowing who the target is. He was lucky that he wasn’t voted out because that is often the case with the clueless. Now, Jon will have to disassociate himself from his former ally. That will be hard considering that Julie said they were like 2 five year olds, running around together. If that wasn’t enough then we have to keep in mind that they were as subtle about their alliance as Africa’s “Mallrats”. As Tribephyl noted, there was an evident “bromance” between Drew and Jon because they were both wearing a blue feather as jewelry, something only Drew previously had. Drew’s blue feather can be seen on Jon’s wrist in the last picture. Despite that, we’ve already had hints that Jon could go on an immunity stretch after the merge so we can’t eliminate him.

Josh: This episode completely ignored the star of the first three episodes. Some will say that it served to “cool off” his story but I don’t agree. This should have been his moment of glory, the episode where he finally took firm control of the alliance but the credit for booting the tribe’s “Villain” went entirely to Jaclyn and Baylor. I know he didn’t do anything stupid in this episode so many will argue about his inclusion with the “Dumb Guys” but the alternative is to put him with the girls and we know he doesn’t like that at all!! I will defend his inclusion in the dumb guys because he said that his tactics were madness. He argued there was method to that madness but it made him look like a sketchy player and it was much too early to reveal that trait.

Jeremy: Now, I expect that few will agree with me that Jeremy may have been the second biggest fool in this episode. First, we have to wonder if he is too emotional for this game. Most of his story was about his wife and that led to an emotional outburst that cost him a possible alliance down the road. Drew said that he was too emotional and we saw Jeremy storming off when he realized that the bartender didn’t have his back. After saying that, Jeremy sided with the girls who didn’t have his back either since they weren’t targeting Keith. Like I wrote above, we may still think of it as Jeremy’s alliance but it didn’t work that way this week. The girls used his vote for their own benefit. They had no way of going after the guys UNLESS one of the guys flipped. That vote made Jeremy quite nervous and, if we believe the symbolism of fast moving clouds, one that he could soon regret.

There are other reasons to believe that, despite his stellar edit, Jeremy is in for a fall. First, we heard that there are already tactics in place to get the pairs together. If that happens then Jeremy has to be considered the number one threat among the singletons. Even Missy was in on the discussion that was lead by Jon and we know that Missy will opt to go with her daughter if she can.

The other examples of Jeremy’s lack of game intelligence were not necessarily underlined by the editors but they were clearly implied: Since he had the same clue as Rocker, why didn’t Jeremy find the idol? It practically jumped out at Keith so it wasn’t hard to find at all but Jeremy apparently didn’t even bother to look for something that is so important in this game. Next, his argument with Keith certainly didn’t make it look like he didn’t have the idol. There has to be a few members of Hunahpu who think he does have it. Finally, his mention of an alliance with Keith, adding that they could have had sub-alliances with everybody else should have alerted his allies as much as Rocker’s revelation at the Challenge Arena. Despite all the hints that were thrown in early on, I am going to say that Jeremy won’t win this season.

Keith: No one will argue against the inclusion of Keith in the “Dumb Guys” group but, for him, it could be a good thing. Like Jeremy said, he wasn’t on anyone’s radar and, while his latest gaffe momentarily caused him to ping on the firefighter’s screen, this follower could go a long way. He simply needs time to figure it out. Sometimes a gaffe can turn into an advantage as we saw when he got people thinking that Jeremy had an idol. Is Keith shown only as comic relief or will he continue to fumble his way forward? I still consider Keith as a valid contender for the victory. Now that would be funny!

The Strong Women

Jaclyn: Michigan is well liked and she was the one that, apparently, got the guys to grow balls and get rid of their figure-head leader. We have to keep in mind that the first thing we heard about Jaclyn was that Miss Michigan was a “Survivor lady” and the rare occasions in which she has been featured have backed up that statement. The rarity of those occasions make it unlikely that Jaclyn will be our winner but there is a story arc that is growing and Jon’s mention of pairs having to stick together gives us a good indication that these two will get to play together.

Natalie: While she had some dumb moments, namely her arguments with John, Natalie was the one portrayed as leading the women’s alliance and knowing how to use the scatter-brains guys. Her intervention at Tribal Council showed that she knows how to play this game but we specifically heard her say that Drew was a bigger challenge threat than Jon. With Drew being so clearly set up as the guy that needed to be voted out, did we need to hear that he was also a challenge threat down the road? It made me think that Natalie will regret forgetting about Jon and the threats he poses, not only as an athlete but as someone who is gunning for singletons like Natalie. I could see a late challenge where the women are competing against Jon who wins immunity, forcing the women to vote against Natalie.

Julie: She was strong enough and smart enough to take John’s elimination in stride, saying that she will work for the team but we still heard that she was useless in challenges and in camp. More than that, the editors gave us visual proof that she prefers to work on her tan on the beach than in camp. Julie could very well be a long term player even if she is without a Loved One but that will happen only if someone is able to carry her to the end.

Kelley: The strong woman that intimidated Drew could very well be considered as a top contender. We heard that she is a huge fan, one that hasn’t missed an episode, we know that she is good in challenges and that puzzles are her specialty and she could be included in Jon’s Loved One alliance. However, there is a lack of substance to Kelley’s story, most of it revolving around her conflict with Drew. With him gone, could she soon follow? Players could come to the same conclusion as Drew: Her knowledge of this game makes her difficult to trust. Besides that, we heard Drew say that she was leading the ladies’ alliance and there are already too many chiefs.

Baylor: With Alec, Baylor seemed to be the only important player in Coyopa. She had a great episode, one that underlined her role in getting rid of Rocker and she told us that the positive energy can work in her favor. A “Blood” alliance would certainly create a lot of positive energy and Baylor could go a long way inside the merge’s main alliance considering how well she navigated when she was on the lower echelons of her first one. However, after hearing that Alec say she was a lot like Drew, used to getting everything she wants, we will have to continue seeing Baylor having to work hard to get ahead. If we see her coasting then we will know she won’t win.

Missy: Looking closely at this episode, I was amazed by the role played by Missy. Unlike Reed, she kept Keith’s information to herself, probably realizing that information is more useful kept than shared. Being aligned with both Keith and Jeremy, it would have given Missy a lot of power down the road to break up the brotherhood but now that information is useless. Still she was with the group when Jon and Drew first put the target on Julie and then Kelley but she acted all surprised when Natalie informed her of the situation. She then led Natalie to decide that Drew was the biggest threat, saying that Drew was more dangerous in challenges. Was it because she preferred Jon’s idea of working in pairs? She’d certainly want to keep Natalie in the dark about that strategy.

What I liked most about Missy was that she was presented as the one that knew the most but let the others slowly come to the same realization. She is one of the few Indian, certainly not a chief but she looked like the Indian in waiting, the one that will let the chiefs kill each other. Right now, Missy holds all the cards because she is trusted by everyone. Even Drew told her about his idea to eliminate Kelley. Granted, he didn’t think her vote would matter but he didn’t want to keep her out of the loop which means something in this game. I’ll want to see how the swap turns out but, right now; I have to think that Missy could be our Sole Survivor.

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10-21-14, 02:59 AM (EST)
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43. "RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
Missy once again showing how far the older women can get in this game because they know how to play smart and either play hard later or get picked off. We'll see with her.

If this isn't a no sources thread, Drew said on SL that Reed was causing a lot of drama. This in accordance to him ratting out Keith, wimpily the first time asking to trade for flint and later about the return policy. Makes a lot of sense. Drew even said he or Julie was the target before the other stuff went down with Drew and Keith.

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10-21-14, 08:15 PM (EST)
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46. "RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
Interesting point, Outsider. Missy looks more level headed than some of the more mature women we've seen lately.

I'd much prefer to keep this thread for what is seen during the episodes but Survivor Live is under CBS control so I don't consider it a source spoiler. The same goes with the Insider clips. It's boot lists and F3 revelations that should remain out of a speculation thread like this one.

I just don't know what the information tells us though. The show hasn't presented Reed as negatively as Drew paints him but we can't say there has been anything positive about him either.

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44. "RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
LAST EDITED ON 10-21-14 AT 12:34 PM (EST)

Thanks again, michel for the very thorough account for the episode and how it was edited. I see it very similarly!

This is kind of a fun start to the season...the early votes are going all over the place! It seems as though one tribe is prevailing but when they go to their first TC, they are a truly "a hot mess"! Seemed as it took Coyopa three rounds to get it together, but from the promos we will not get to see Hunahpu get their act together. (the writing was on the wall though)

I love the timing of this swap....just as it seems the hierarchy of the tribes is starting to shake out, there is a mash up. Perfect!

I felt that Baylor getting the confessional about the vote, while Josh and his part in it was ignored, did indeed make it seem to benefit the girls vs. the boys...perhaps it was edited this way as a foreshadowing as to how the rest of the episode would shake out... at Hunahpu...girls defeating boy. This episode was definitely a nod to the girls. No. Doubt. About. It.

The events would give Kelley a much better role than Drew, but, now that he is gone, what role is left for our farmer’s daughter?

Very astute question, Michel...very astute. Also, great pick up on Alec’s narration role as a means to highlight his brothers fate, and the impact that his loss will have on Alec later. I agree. But, it could also be a start of an arc as well.

The fact that Julie and her reaction to John going was minimized with one confessional from her I think may bode well for her, All I can do is try my best and get myself back in the game. Seems as though she got a nod, and they move on with the game, exactly what she says she is going to do...this was a bit foreshadowing as to her fate later in the game as well, when at TC she did receive a few votes, a nod so to speak, but someone else shined brighter and she slipped past and back into the game.

Good pick up on the clue at Exile island, but, remember it’s a clue to both tribes hidden I question if there is a new idol buried or not?

Clearly, Drew has thrown his entire hand in with Jon and their plan to work with Alec and Jacklyn post merge. It comes across as it’s his plan to throw the challenge so the Coyopa tribe will not lose, and he can get rid of snakes on his tribe, namely the untrustworthy girls. Pitting Drew against the girls. Is this Drew’s plan, or Jon’s or both? I would have been happy to have gotten to see how this plan was hatched. By the editing, Drew takes all the credit, but I believe there is more to it. Clearly, they had planned to send Drew to EI if Jacklyn/Jon competed and she lost. Don’t think we are seeing what is presented at face value.

When Reed ran off to tell Jeremy of Keith telling everyone that Jeremy had the idol, I was reminded of the omissions that Jeremy made when he talked about the dumb guys. He never called Reed dumb or put him with Drew/Jon. So, this makes me think that Reed has some kind of deal with Jeremy that we did not see.

Now, in regard to Keith, I loved it! He found the idol and he kept it to himself, all the while saying it may have been a good thing to put it on Jeremy. Keith is playing a smarter game than all of them at far, imo. As michel noted, figuring it out!

I saw the bickering between Alec and Baylor as more girls vs boys...Alec, Drew’s brother, got to explain his rationale, but I still thought he appeared ridiculous, especially in a social game that hinges on bonds. Comparing it to Kelly and Drew bickering on Hunahpu...Drew looks like a dumb player, Alec, the younger brother, looks quite the same, imo.

Recalling one of the themes that you and Georgiana noted, the family theme. Baylor/Alec, Drew/Kelly are falling into sibling rivalry in a big way. They are acting like the competitive peers/siblings that they are...but, will one of the kids win this show, or one of the parental figures? Of them all, Baylor nailed it with her confessional...Alec feels like a little brother. She gets it, and him.

Next we had the challenge and Drew basically following through and executing his plan. Then back at camp the drama begins with Jon...

we heard Jon talking to Missy, Reed and Keith: “Here’s my idea: I fear that, going into the merge, the individuals are going to outnumber the couples (we see Julie and Natalie as examples of individuals to target) So we need to take out people that don’t have a loved one right now.” With them agreeing, Jon added: “That’s why I think Julie is an easy vote and she hurts our team.”

I thought this was a significant insight in to a major strategy for the season...instead of singles to the end, he’s proposing couples staying strong to the end. It also shows that Jon is paying attention. I also thought because he didn’t choose to target Natalie or Jeremy, he may be playing an angle with them as well...His follow-up confessional was logical....

“My argument today was that Julie should be the one to go. She hasn’t really been helping in challenges and she doesn’t help around camp, it would be an easy one to agree on, but most importantly; she doesn’t have a Loved One.

Sound and rational. Then, Drew, who is coming across as dumb, interjects his rationale for Kelly, who he thinks is the most dangerous person in the game right now...we see no one agreeing with him, so it appears that this suggestion is indeed dumb.

Then we hear something from the “future promo” from Jeremy...if someone is after you, I am going to go after that person. Clearly this was implying that Jeremy had a side alliance with the guys, as we see them talking and arguing. It seems that Jeremy’s idea of what an alliance means is definitely conflicting with how Drew and Keith see an alliance.

Frankly, I did see this scene as disasterous for this alliance as Drew is adamant and stubborn with his pick, while Jeremy is un-relenting with his choice as well. Crazy.

We heard from Missy that since the boys were all over the place, now would be a good time to target Drew. Natalie said that Drew would be the first choice out of he and Jon to win IC’s later, and then Missy said, maybe we should get out Drew first. Clearly, this is a girls vs. guys episode.

Natalie talked to Jeremy, telling him that Missy was down with getting rid of Drew. She added that they could get Jon, tell him that Drew is leading him the wrong path. Well, it seemed like they were indeed able to “get” Jon because Jon apparently went with Jeremy because he agreed with his definition of an alliance...if someone is going after you, I will go after that person and you will do the same for me....he voted for Keith.

Jeremy refused to go with Drew, and Drew refused to go with Jeremy. Jeremy fell back to his original plan “A”, his girls. The alliance that was shown. Jeremy played like a “girl” at TC when he got emotional about Keith throwing him under the bus. I agree, I can’t help but to think the girls were only an option for Jeremy but it was the girls alliance that used him.

Missy was sound at TC, pointing out who gets along, Drew and Jon, and too many chiefs, and too many selfish players. Clearly, she’s the mom of the tribe.

I also thought Jon was sound admitting that he didn’t have a full grasp of any of the strategies going around and he didn’t know what name to write down...

The vote revealed to me that Jon went with Jeremy, Drew stayed true to himself, Keith/Reed stayed true to Jon and the “couples to the end vs. singles” rationale, and Jeremy screwed them all by going with the girls. Clearly, the girls were the smartest ones in this scenario, united and victorious.

My thoughts are similar to yours, the girls stock is going up in this game. There are themes emerging, namely, girls vs. boys, younger vs. older, couples vs. singles, chiefs vs. indians.

My thoughts:

Agreed the girls were the break out stars of the show, getting credit for the “big move” at Coyopa, as well as remaining solidily unified and triumphing over the big strong guy.

Dale’s edit is not looking good. He even admitted he could be “toast”. Alec looked ridiculous to me as the little brother and I do think he stepped up with narration due to the fact that he’s being set up to react to the loss of big brother, Drew. Wes and Josh flying under the radar. It can’t be good that Josh had nothing after the Rocker vote out.

Baylor and Jacklyn got all the love and credit from the editors and Baylor seems level headed and positive now and perceptive. She’s lookin’ good! Jacklyn by association, perhaps?

At Hunahpu, they were a freakin’ hot mess! The girls were far more perceptive, and read the situation accurately. Jeremy did look immature to me, stubborn, and emotional. It seemed as if he went with the girls as a last resort. Who’s playing who?

Reed: Really not much from him other than he was the one to rat out Keith, not Jeremy’s so called alliance mates. Reed is on board with the couples strategy, as was Keith.

Keith: I think Keith is looking good...he threw Jeremy under the bus, but called him out at TC with alliances and sub-alliances...he’ll figure it out! He didn’t tell anyone that he found the idol. Well done, Keith!

Jon: Jon had alot of fun with Drew, the other young D1 athlete there, and I think he got his early game handed to him on a silver platter tonight, but can he learn from it? He had several very astute and logical confessionals and arguments, namely the thought to target Julie, who would have been someone they all could have agreed on, while at the same time she wasn’t part of a couple. But, he could convince some, but not others. Clearly, he didn’t know who was with him or against him....he does now! I also thought he made sense at TC, recognizing that he didn’t know what the heck was happening, but clearly wanting to get on the same page. He was excluded and it better be a wake up call, or he will be the one at Hunahpu noting, he’ll be toast!

Julie doing exactly what she said in confessional...I love him, but I am getting on with my game now. Kelly, constantly seen in conflict with Drew and called out as the “player”, yet it was Missy that was edited as making it happen. Dismissive of Kelly cannot be a good thing. Missy is looking good in this tribe, and with the swap coming, she and Baylor could really be the heart and soul of this season?

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10-21-14, 08:04 PM (EST)
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45. "RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
I really enjoyed your input, FP.

I've had a lot of back and forth over at RHAP for the Coyopa scene. It made me think that the intent of the scene was to show that Coyopa was an immature tribe. Hunahpu, by contrast, was a more mature tribe and they got rid of their most immature member.

If that was the thing to remember from that scene then our winner has to be a mature member of Hunahpu (even if Josh wasn't exactly included in the immaturity) Missy, Keith, Natalie and Jeremy are the most mature members of Hunahpu but there is a lot of little boy in Keith while Jeremy and Natalie have acted very emotionally, acting like chidren yelling names at Rocker. That would leave Missy...

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47. "RE: Episode 4 - Good Play, Girls"
You definitely could look at that Coyopa scene to highlight the "children" and their bickering. Clearly a tie to Drew, who was the target later on. Yes, Missy is clearly the most mature and maternal one on Hunahpu. It was all highlighted nicely with the Rocker drama. Jeremy projected everything on to Rocker as his fault, than "tattled" to his tribe about him, then Natalie and Drew especially goaded Rocker on...and it was Missy that was sensitive to Julie despite Jeremy's dismissal of her. What's interesting is the way Jiffy played up Missy and Baylor was that Baylor had to be the "mom" when her own mother kept getting involved in failing relationships. He made it sound pre-game that Missy was more the "mother" in the relationship. It will be interesting to see how they interact when reunited....

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10-25-14, 12:57 PM (EST)
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48. "Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
LAST EDITED ON 10-25-14 AT 02:53 PM (EST)

Previously on Survivor, since day 1, Blood versus Water has been the tale of 2 tribes heading in opposite directions. Coyopa couldn’t win a challenge and they weren’t getting along (we hear Val saying that Baylor told her to vote Dale)

Hunahpu was unbeaten (Reed shown doing his stretch) and living like kings but even they couldn’t live in peace. (We see Keith telling everyone that Jeremy has an idol, we hear Jeremy’s trying to rally the group against Keith and finally Drew is heard saying they need to get the snakes out of the tribe.)

Drew decided to throw the immunity challenge but, at tribal Council, his plan backfired as a majority came together to blindside Drew, leaving his lone ally, Jon, in shock.

While this recap is much more in tune with what we saw than the one we were served last week, it still changes our perceptions of the events.

First, we only heard Keith say that they should keep in mind that Jeremy has an idol, so it make it look once more like Val’s husband over-reacted when he said that Keith wanted to vote him out.

More importantly, it wasn’t the girls or Jeremy that were credited with getting Drew but simply an unnamed “majority”. (We did see the voters minus Missy though) Jeff could have told us that Natalie and Missy set the stage for Drew’s comeuppance or that Jeremy’s alliance was in charge but it was presented simply as a majority turning on Drew.

When we heard Jon’s reaction to the vote, it wasn’t to say “Good Play, Girls” like we originally heard but only “Good Play” and it was directed at Kelley.

Jeff also neglected to say that Jon wasn’t the only one left in shock because Keith and Reed were also left out of the majority. Jeff’s words lead us to believe that Jon was the only one in the dark which makes for a nice underdog story.

The Honeymoon

Hunahpu Day 10

The tribe’s entrance was accompanied by a very loud war drums. The return from that “learning experience” was going to be a serious scene.

Jon gave the first interview: “Tribal was freaking insane. I was definitely one of the odd ones out. Drew was definitely a friend of mine but he stepped on a lot of peoples’ toes the last few days. I am very nervous and I have a lot of damage control to do.” We heard him telling the tribe that he would have been on board if they had told him about the vote. Kelley told him he would be much better off without Drew.

How prophetic of Kelley! It really didn’t take time for Jon to find a better game partner and a better situation! The question after this episode is just how much better off will Jon be? I'd say that this episode put him at the top of my list of "suspects".

Jeremy looked very happy when he gave his interview: “Jon is on his apology tour because he knows he will be gone next.” We then saw Jon talking in private to Jeremy, saying he should have gone to him and apologizing for not doing it. Jeremy’s interview continued: “He comes to me and I didn’t have to do anything; I just swooped him up. You know what I mean?! This is beautiful. I’m right in the middle of where I want to be. This is perfect. I’m in a beautiful spot right now.”

Kim had a few confessionals where we heard her say that things were going well for her but she never looked on her allies with condescension the way Jeremy constantly does. The body language was that of a king looking down on someone, passing judgment. Jon wasn’t the next one to go so Jeremy may regret this moment. Instead of making Jon want to work for him, I’d say that Jeremy’s arrogance could very well have made Jon want to find the right time to knock him off his throne.

Coyopa Day 11

After Wes read tree mail (Another writer’s pathetic attempt to be funny.) we heard Dale say that it was good that they’d walk in first this time while the other tribe would do the walk of shame in front of them. It led to questions about the identity of the person voted out.

Josh (solo): “Someone coined walking into the arena with one less person, the “Walk of Shame” and, since we won immunity, it’s going to be nice to have the other team do it except if it’s your Loved One that is not there.”

We saw a close up of Alec when he said: “I just don’t see Drew being the one voted out first on his tribe.”

Alec gave an interview: “There’s another challenge in the arena and I will be absolutely excited to face off against Drew. He socked me in the mouth a couple of times already but I’m still standing and if I can sock him and knock him down, I’m gonna.”

It seems that Alec’s new role is to make us chuckle. For now, I think his brother was still funnier.

The Grandstands

Jeff noticed the shocked faces and the emotions so he turned to Alec who said: “I don’t get it. I thought Drew was one of their best players over there.” Alec turned to Hunahpu, asking if Drew was seen as a big threat but he only got silence as an answer. Baylor explained her shock by saying that she thought Drew was Mr Popular. That got some laughs from Kelley and Missy. Jeff told Josh that he was shocked to see so many shocked reactions. Josh agreed, saying that they don’t know the dynamics of the other tribe and that it sucked.

Jeff told them to drop their buffs. We heard Kelley saying that she knew it while Baylor exclaimed: “Son of a Gun.”

After the commercials, we had an instant replay of the players’ shocked reactions. Asked if she was happy at the prospect of playing with her dad, Kelley said that she didn’t know because the singles would feel a little bit free while the ones with Loved Ones are looked as targets. Jeremy agreed that it was dangerous to be in a pair but said he’d prefer to see Val on the other side. Josh said he didn’t know what he wanted because he got close to his tribe but could now be with his Loved One.

It was interesting that the pairs were said to be in danger like they were in the first Blood versus Water. The editors always put some doubts, some obstacles on the road to victory, so these words could be telling us that the pairs will succeed. That would simply be normal. These players don’t have the previous relations that enabled many of the returning players to gel even if they were singles.

The new tribes were:
- Hunahpu: Jeremy, Natalie, Julie, Alec, Wes, Josh and Reed.
- Coyopa: Missy, Baylor, Jon, Jaclyn, Kelley, Dale, Keith.

Reed and Josh kissed as did Jon and Jaclyn.

Jeff pointed out the asymmetry between tribes but didn’t point to the obvious unbalance in physical strength between the two. Hunahpu should be unbeatable in physical challenges. (I bet there won’t be a puzzle or a balance beam in the immediate future to make sure that the Blue tribe remains intact)

Asked how he felt being the lone single on his tribe, Keith said it didn’t feel good but that they’d do Ok. Reed told Jeff that he could be a target since he represented two votes. Jeremy was seen listening intently at that answer.

Jeff sent them back to camp, giving them the chance to get to know each other.

Jon gave an interview: “When I first realized that Jaclyn and I were going to be on the same tribe, it was an extremely happy moment right when I needed it. When I was in Hunahpu, I was on the wrong side of the numbers so the tribe swap came at the right time. It’s a whole game changer.”

Survivor has had quite a few showmances, some less appreciated than others but this is a real romance so we know the editors will use it for all its worth. Despite that proviso, there was much more substance to Jon and Jaclyn’s story that just their romance. Was it only due to the vote? We will be able to tell by the way this pair evolves now that they are in charge. Will it be simply about their love story or will we hear about their long term connections with others?


Julie and Natalie greeted the new comers.
Josh said their place was twice the size and they had plenty of food over there. Realizing there was only a few scoops of rice left, Hunahpu had to admit they were eating two portions a day while Coyopa was on one meal a day.

Wes gave an interview: “We come to a new tribe, a new camp and it sucks kinda because the food situation on this camp is horrible. I don’t know what they were thinking since they got this much rice left and they got twenty-some days. We probably had more than half a bag and they got a handful of rice left so it had to be why they were winning.”

Imagine that: Wes is the one the editors chose to tell us that Coyopa was smarter about rationing their food supply than Hunahpu. That can’t be good for the present members of Hunahpu. The ones that left were also responsible but the comment was directed at the 4 present.

Alec said he was bummed but that they would figure it out.

Jeremy gave us an interview: “This morning, I wasn’t on anyone’s radar and I could do whatever I wanted and what happens? My worst nightmare: A tribe swap. We get Wes and Alec and Josh together on our tribe. So, all they have to do is Josh work his magic on Reed and Reed could jump ship and my game is history. They are going to go right after me. I guarantee that.”

I wonder why Jeremy didn’t try to work his magic on Josh and Reed, offering them a Final 4 deal with Natalie. This confessional made it look like Jeremy never even considered it.

It was Josh’s turn to give us his thoughts: “I’m so excited about the switch and I was excited to actually play with Reed. I’ve been wondering what’s been going on with him. My relationship with Reed definitely gave me the strength to come out to my family and to my friends. I grew up a very conservative Christian...Not everyone agrees with how I am living my life. We’ve been together for two years and... it’s that level of commitment that’s going to take us all the way to the end.”

If we are to judge by the image of the big wave submerging him then we can say that the road to the end may not be as easy as Josh thinks.


We saw a howler monkey jump from one tree to the next, demonstrating a lot of skills and balance in doing so. It seemed to symbolise Jon’s leap from Hunahpu to Coyopa.

We heard more of Jon’s interview (he was sitting at the same spot as before so this interview was taken at the same time as the one heard right after the swap.): “My first steps on the new Coyopa camp: It’s good. I feel good about it. They got a bunch of rice and I was like Yesss! We get to eat! I couldn’t have been happier but even more importantly; I am on the same tribe as Jaclyn.” We saw him kissing his girlfriend while saying: “I don’t care what implications this has. I’m just pumped.” His interview continued: “Being here with Jaclyn right now is a huge weight off my shoulders. She knows everything that is going on in my life especially my dad right now is dying of brain cancer. Jaclyn has been there for me every step of the way. I am excited that I can actually share so much of this experience with her and even more excited that it seems like we can help each other.”

While his “we get to eat” isn’t very smart considering the previous scene, it’s good for Jon’s chances that we remained connected with his personal drama. If we go back to the introduction videos, Jaclyn also shared her personal drama, her inability to have children but that hasn’t been mentioned during the season. We just heard Jon say that Jaclyn will be able to support him and that seems to be her role, a supporting actress.

Jaclyn gave us an interview also: “When Jon got a yellow buff I was like: I have no idea what this means for my individual game right now. It’s unheard of: To have someone playing with you that you trust 100 percent. It’s kind of crazy.” (The scene below was shown here) “We’ve been together for three years and we definitely know how to work together as a this kind of situation.”

In the middle of her confessional we heard Jaclyn tell Jon about the alliance of guys on the original Coyopa and Baylor flipping back and forth. She added: “I don’t trust Baylor or Josh. And Baylor knows that”.

Seeing the couple kissing one more time, Baylor looked quite envious. Jaclyn said: “You guys are going to hate us” to which Baylor answered “No I love it. So cute.”

Baylor in confessional: “Jaclyn and Jon are in love. It was like I was watching a honeymoon. I’m totally jealous. I’m sitting here single, twenty, hanging out with my mom. My mom and I are both single. My mom has made her share of mistakes...My time will come. My mom’s next time will come. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Keith (solo): “Brand new tribe. It is a little weird being the odd man out. I don’t know: It’s a mom and a daughter, it’s a daddy and a daughter and it’s a guy and a girlfriend. I’m kinda between a rock and a hard place. I might be by myself but I got a little idol. As a matter of fact, it’s in my boot. If all else fails: I got the back-up plan. That’s always an ace in the hole”

We had another helicopter shot, this time of Keith observing his new tribe. Could this be the right one?! We can at least say it wasn’t used ironically like it was for Drew who was seen as the “Fool on the Hill” instead of the King of San Juan del Sur. This last sequence showed Keith attempting to be the provider for his tribe, going for the role of the father in Coyopa, a role that Dale failed to assume.


The tribe was talking about the difficulty of the game. Alec said it takes a strong mind and body.

Alec gave an interview: “I feel pretty good about the new tribe to be honest. I feel like we have the more athletic of the two tribes. Maybe my tribe won’t suck like the last one. It’s only day eleven and I’m fine. I feel good. I think that I’ve proven that I am not in my brother’s shadow anymore. I outlasted him in the game so, for the first time in my life, I can say that I beat Drew.”

This confessional signals the end of Alec’s sibling rivalry story. We will need to see him pick up a new storyline if he is to last deep into the game and have an impact on it. It could be that he will be the deciding factor between the original singles of Hunahpu and the pairs of Coyopa. Are there any doubts about where he’d go? It would be very surprising to see Alec flip on Josh and Wes to go with Jeremy and Natalie, two players that played a key role in eliminating Drew.

A snake accompanied Natalie and Jeremy as they went to the well. Natalie was saying that Alec was like his brother, contradicting Alec who had just said he had stepped out of his brother’s shadow. Jeremy didn’t care because they needed Alec right now.

Jeremy said he needed Alec but what will happen when his vote against Drew is revealed? With Reed there to spill the beans, it’s only a matter of time before Alec chooses to avenge his brother.

Jeremy in interview: “I can only assume that Reed jumped ship with Josh, Wes and Alec. I’m hoping that I can say to Alec: Just roll with us. Alec; he is by himself, he is a single. The couples are not going to break their bond. He’s going to be out if he sticks with Josh and Reed. I’m a firefighter and we have this thing called: Surround and Drown... If (a fire) gets out of control... everybody stays outside with their hoses; surround it and drown it. That’s what we need to do. We need to drown him with the water of the singles. I’m definitely going to play to Alec’s ego. He’s just like his brother. It’s like a little Drew but I’m still working on him.”

Did Jeremy really only assume that Reed was a lost cause? These words seem to imply that there were frictions between Jeremy and Reed that weren’t shown or that Jeremy never really talked to Reed before the swap. Was he that comfortable in his alliance? He was in such a beautiful spot that he may have neglected the social game, the need to keep everyone happy.
We saw Natalie and Jeremy taking turns talking to Alec but, strangely, Julie didn’t participate in the plan to surround him. Since Alec liked Rocker, maybe she would have been the one to convince him. It really didn’t look like the singles made any progress with Alec.


Missy was cooking rice, a lot of rice, way too much rice according to Dale. Realizing this, Missy told Baylor: “He is monitoring me.”

Missy in confessional: “There is a ton of rice over at this camp and Dale is on monitor duty about how much they have. It’s not how we did it over there. We made so much more than this.” Dramatic chords were heard in the background when Baylor told her mom that Dale had been trying to get her voted out from the beginning. Missy’s confessional continued: “My daughter told me that Dale has tried to vote her out pretty much the entire time. It’s hard when you hear that someone is not being nice to your kid. I’m just telling you: Blood is Blood. So, in this experience, the only thing I want to protect my kid from is that guy picking on her.”

Dale was heard saying “One less mouth in three days” to no one in particular before giving an interview: “Our tribe has been doing real good about rice. We’ve still got two thirds of our jug left and then Missy comes in and starts dishing out double helpings. I was biting my lip hard enough to draw blood because it took every bit of self control not to walk over and slap those rice dishes out of their hands and say: Guys, this is our camp, this is my rice. Stay the hell away from it.”

Kelley gave us an interview also: “I’m almost waiting for Missy and my dad to get into a battle over the rice. I see it forming. Missy plays that sweet mom role but she can be a bit of a diva and my dad is a small town, hard-working, farm man and he doesn’t deal with that kind of stuff. I’m really happy to be playing with my dad but he is really set in his ways and says what’s on his mind. There are certain things that he does that I think can bother people a little bit. In the long run, getting into a fight with someone over an extra scoop of rice could get you voted out next time. I’m going to play peacemaker. I have to otherwise my dad is going to put a big bull’s eye on his back which puts a bull’s eye on my back.”

Even after Kelley tried to calm him down, Dale said: “She’s a self-centered, bossy #####.”

Hearing Kelley call Missy a diva which Dale raised to self-centered, bossy #####, I assume that most editing analysts will say that Missy cannot win but I won’t go that far yet. In fact, this may have been her finest moment up to date. It confirmed her role as the mother of the tribe and she gave her “kids” exactly what they needed: Food. The game in Coyopa was coming down to a power play to align with Jon and Jaclyn and we had just heard that Jon was ecstatic at the idea of having plenty of rice to eat. Missy probably knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so it’s possible that this meal played a big role down the line. Who had the upper hand in attracting Jon? Since the choice was between a militaristic “father” who was on rice monitoring duty and a doting mom that kept saying “have some more, have some more” no one should be surprised by the outcome. Also, Missy knew that Dale was getting upset. “He is monitoring me” she said so maybe she added some rice just to irk him even more. Of course, I will be listening to the next recap, waiting to see if Jeff says that Missy wasted rice or simply mentions that she fed the tribe if he says anything at all.

Hunahpu Day 13

The tribe was lethargic when Reed gave us an interview: “The food is getting dire. We are down to a handful of rice, a handful of beans and it takes its toll.”

(Julie was shown resting in the shelter, looking exhausted)
Josh then gave us his thoughts: “On our tribe, we were eating once a day. We could have gone 39 days easily the way we were going. Here, we have three days of food left and then what? I’m shocked to be honest that people weren’t smarter. There were some very foolhardy players on this side. It’s really, really frustrating. I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Reed was hallucinating, thinking the vultures were actually rotisserie chicken. Alec said those vultures were disgusting but Josh’s mouth was watering at the thought. Alec said they had to propose some trade to Jeff.

Reed (solo): “I feel that the last time we tried to barter with Jeff, it kind of made us all look like a little foolish because this is not Survivor market. But, if that is what it takes, that’s what we are going to have to settle for because we need food to be competitive.”

The vultures were just there, teasing them as they walked to the challenge area.

The Immunity challenge

Even though Hunahpu was digging harder and faster, it sure looked like their bag wasn’t buried as much as Coyopa’s. Hunahpu got out to a huge lead and never really looked back. Maybe some were amused to see them all looking like they were feathered and tarred but what a waste of time. Jeff had the audacity to blame it on lack of communications among the Loved Ones when Coyopa was simply outmatched. Jeff could have simply given immunity to Hunahpu.

After Coyopa was dismissed, Reed asked Jeff for a few minutes to talk to him. Jeff knew that this conversation would be good. Reed explained that they wanted to trade for a bag of rice. Jeff said the tribe had to pay for eating so much. He told them it would be costly but that he had to take care of Tribal Council first so he’d see them in the morning.

For some reason, it was Julie that gave us a confessional: “Jeff said that he would come to our camp to discuss some sort of a trade. We need to negotiate something in order to get more rice but that’s really going to be heavy, that is going to hit hard. I’m not really sure what is going to happen. I’m scared.”

Coyopa Day 13

If we go by the music then we should feel sorry for this tribe’s loss. The muddy figures got back to camp to a melancholic air.
Keith gave an interview: “The fact that we lost this challenge, it seems that these three couples would be gunning to get me. That’s just a free vote. They wouldn’t lose none of their Loved Ones. Keith would be gone, everything would be good. But, of the three couples, one doesn’t like the other so that could be real good for me. We’ll see tonight at Tribal.”

Keith is getting a nice narrator role here. Of course, it could simply be because of his particular situation but it’s always good to have confessionals about tribal dynamics, to keep a player on our mind. Keith is in for the long run.

Dale stepped to the microphone next: “It’s three couples and Keith so, if you can get another couple, you control our tribe. It’s as simple as that: It’s four against three. The way Missy and Baylor have both been around camp are one of the key things driving my vote. Missy is very pushy around camp and Baylor has proven in the past that she will tell somebody to vote one way and then she changes her vote at the last minute and that makes you nervous as hell at this stage of the game. So, we absolutely have to work with Jon and Jaclyn because they are swing votes. Now it’s scramble city.”

Dale told Jon and Jaclyn that Baylor flips and flops. Jaclyn agreed that it was risky and scary. Jon wondered about Missy but Kelley told him she was the same.

The audience knows that Baylor is unreliable but Missy has never been disloyal so this whole scene is more damaging to the daughter than the mother.

Kelley had a confessional in which she told us they were working on Jon and Jaclyn. She added: “The point is to choose a pair and that’s the name of the game. I’m choosing Jon and Jaclyn. Missy and Baylor are out.”

Dale was happy that it was a new game: “I’ve got your back, Michigan.”

Jon gave us an interview: “We have so many couples here that it really is all about finding your couple that you match up with. The most important thing is to read a situation and be able to say: Is this the best thing for me now? So, I’m leaving room to make adjustments.”

This confessional tells us that Jon could very well be our winner. This whole game is about reading people and adapting to changing situations. Jon expressed it very nicely. This could very well be a clip that will be used at the reunion if Jon is indeed the Sole Survivor.

Jon and Jaclyn agreed that they had to get to know people better. They talked with Missy and Baylor who had to explain why she voted with the guys, going against Jaclyn.

Baylor (solo): “Prior to the switch, Jaclyn and I never really worked together one on one so this is a new ball game between me and her for sure. My mom and I put some cards on the table. Hopefully they choose us over Dale and Kelley.”

The following scene was shown in the middle of Baylor’s confessional: Missy asked Jaclyn about Dale. Miss Michigan said he was supposed to be the next out. Missy said: “I hate to say this but those two could be huge, huge threats to the end because they are so smart.”

I think we can assume that the choice came down to Jon’s previous relations inside Hunahpu since Jaclyn had equal reasons to worry about Baylor and Dale. We noted early on that Missy had interacted with everyone on her original tribe so I have no trouble imagining that she got a lot closer to Jon than Kelley ever did. You always have to keep your options open, something that a few players seem to have neglected, especially those that were in a beautiful spot.

When Dale and Kelley walked out of camp, Missy was quick to point out that they were going to look for an idol. Missy proposed splitting the vote.

Jaclyn in interview: “What makes me nervous about working with Missy and Baylor right now is because of Baylor’s past. The basic idea is that Baylor flipped on me once and she could do it again. But Dale is sneaky and I’m sure that his daughter is the same way. Missy and Baylor want us and Kelley and Dale want us and we both keep telling them: Yeah! We’re in. If we are planning on teaming up with Dale and Kelley, Jon and I are voting Baylor. If we’re teaming up with Baylor and Missy then we are splitting the vote in case there is an immunity idol and one of them plays it. This is a huge decision tonight. It will determine which couple we may or may not be playing with later. Knocking out one of them is a big move. You’re going to have to vote out somebody’s Loved One and somebody is not going to be happy.”

During this confessional, we heard the two pairs in waiting saying that they felt good about Jon and Jaclyn’s decision. Missy and Baylor even told Keith that it was all good.

Tribal Council

I noted that Baylor and Kelley were at the two extremities, making the division very clear. Also noteworthy was Keith’s position: He was placed right between mother and daughter. I took that as a hint that those three are now solidly together, a newly assembled family with Jon and Jaclyn ready to join.

Jeff went directly to Keith, asking him if he felt in danger.
Keith said that he did initially but that some of his team mates came with him. (Missy was highlighted right then). He added: “It seems to have its good and bad. I hope it’s not six to one. If it is, I’ve been really had.”
Jeff asked Jaclyn about the fact that Keith was only one vote; that two coupes would have to gang up on one at some point.
Jaclyn told him that it will be hard to maintain relationship with the remaining Loved One.
Jeff brought up the fact that they were 7, an odd number, which was a good time to make a move
Relax Jeff; they don’t need you to make that “big” move.
Jon simply answered that he was glad he could talk to Jaclyn because he trusted her.
Dale told Jeff that he spoke very little to Baylor.
Asked about the friction with Dale and Kelley, Baylor said that things had gotten crazy but it didn’t mean she didn’t like Dale.
He threw it back at her, reminding Jeff that she had gotten all the girls to vote against him at the first TC and that she then aligned with the guys.
Jeff finally realized that Jaclyn and Jon were the couple to go to.
Jaclyn said they were in a good position to be strategic.
(That got a reaction from Missy)
Dale said that Jaclyn and Jon were the hottest couple in camp right now. Baylor corrected him: “They are the hottest couple period.”
Kelley explained that the friction between her father and Baylor prevented her from working with Baylor.
Missy told Jeff that the only thoughts were spinning in her head. She said she was like a mama bear: “I can’t get over the fact that Dale has been gunning for my daughter this whole time without me there. So I’m kind of stuck on that.”
Dale replied that Baylor came after him first.
Baylor said it was simply the case of being at the first tribal where no one knows what to do.
Missy said that Dale’s vote against her daughter put a damper on her relation with Kelley. “I’m going to protect my kid. That’s just a no-brainer.”
Jeff asked Keith if the two parents were screwing up their game by protecting their kids.
Keith answered that it was great for him but that he was with Missy and Dale because someone was going to be disappointed.
Dale concluded by saying: “There’s no way to vote somebody out and feel good about it.”
It was time to vote.
There were 2 votes against Baylor and Dale, three against Kelley. They all came from the other women.
After snuffing Kelley’s torch, Jeff asked the tribe if they could work as a tribe after voting out a Loved One.

The Story

In this episode, we heard that the name of the game is to choose a pair and I believe that the game will come down to pairs. We still have four in the game even if Keith and Wes are on opposite tribes. If the merger is at twelve then all four pairs are likely to make it. Coyopa can go to another Tribal Council with the couples in charge and it seems that Jeremy’s “Surround and Drown” plan with Alec won’t float. Jeremy, Natalie and Julie have to hope that their challenge strength carries them to the merger because Josh, Reed, Wes and Alec should control the votes. A delayed merger should still contain at least three pairs which would then be a majority voting bloc.

After the merger, it most likely comes down to something Jon said: “It really is all about finding your couple that you match up with.” We can already look at the possible matches. It seems that the two pairs of lovers have no bonds between them because Jon wasn’t aligned with Reed while Jaclyn was playing against Josh. Wes has a connection with Josh but not with Jaclyn while Keith and Reed weren’t together on Hunahpu. If Keith knows that Reed was the one that alerted Jeremy it could even burn that bridge completely. The couple that matches the most with the others is Missy and Baylor. They have gained a strong connection with Jon and Jaclyn, Missy gets along nicely with Keith and we never saw a conflict between her and Reed while Baylor was aligned with Josh and Wes. They are in a prime position to choose a pair... and flip on another! Will Jaclyn regret staying with Baylor? Maybe, but that should be far down the road. It would seem that a Final six with the father and son team of firefighters, the mother daughter team of cheerleaders and the hot Michigan couple is the most likely outcome to this story.

The Characters

These players are in trouble because this version of Blood versus Water isn’t going to favor the Singles:

Dale: This dead-man walking is reduced to bluffing his way to stay three more days. Of course, if he succeeds then he could be saved by the merger but it seems that the farmer has been much more irritating than we have been shown.

Julie: Her only intervention of the episode was to tell us about the tribe’s talk with Jeff which scared her. I think she should be more scared about Jeremy’s plan to drop Reed and work on getting Alec to change alliance. If Alec is conflicted at all, if he wants to keep his options open, then Julie becomes an easy vote... again.

Natalie: Even if she played a big part in getting rid of Drew, her role wasn’t underlined in the recap and we continually see her as Jeremy’s follower. Every time she says something, Jeremy is there to point out her mistake. So, even if the singles manage to take over, Natalie’s role isn’t going to be rewarded.

Alec: He remained stoned-face when Natalie and Jeremy surrounded him. That made it look like he was far from drowning. While he did express some doubts about Josh and Wes’ strategy, especially when it came to Rocker, we haven’t seen any hints that he would betray them.

Jeremy: If Jeremy has lost Reed like he says, then he has also lost Josh, Wes and Alec. His plan of working with Alec is bound to fail because of his role in eliminating Drew but his tribe is unlikely to go to Tribal Council before the merger. There, it seems likely that his bad read of people will continue to hurt him if he tries to get Missy back on board and go against his old foes, Jon and Keith. Jeremy started the game with more allies than anyone else but, except for dead-man walking Dale, he now has more enemies than everyone else. Many viewers will see it as doubts surrounding our eventual winner but I think we’ve seen his bad social game for a reason. He continually looks down on people, even dismisses them if they don’t do it his way so, while some are still on his side, many others have to be waiting for the right time to vote him out.

The Couples:

Three pairs have a star and a supporting actor:

Reed: Like Dale who was a 50 pound bag on Kelley’s shoulders, Reed could be too much baggage for Josh to carry. Most likely, his actions up to now will come back to drown Josh. No one seems to trust Reed; Keith even has a very valid reason to distrust him. So it will make it hard for anyone to work with Josh. Since Josh was shown being submerged by a big wave during their own “Honeymoon” scene, we can even wonder if Jeremy’s plan won’t succeed after all. We’d really have to reassess our outlook on things but it wouldn’t change our view of Reed. Either way, he won’t be our winner.

Wes: Despite the confessional in which he told us that Hunahpu wasn’t very smart with their rice, Wes is not really an important player this season. His story is on hold until he joins his father, the real star of this pair. If, as I suspect, the Final 6 comes down to him, his dad, the Michigan couple and the cheerleaders, then it’s likely that he will make a quiet exit shortly before the Final Tribal Council.

Jaclyn: She should be happy to know that most viewers will see her as a better player than Jefra, her pre-season model. At least, by now, most viewers know Jaclyn which wasn’t the case for Miss Kentucky. Still, this isn’t a beauty contest so Jaclyn has many obstacles to overcome. Her role is definitely to support Jon’s bigger story. They will try to go as far together as possible and the others still find their romance cute. However, their allies will soon realize that they have to be broken apart. As soon as Jon wins an individual immunity challenge, the target will appear on Jaclyn’s back. However, everyone likes Michigan (well maybe not Dale at this point but he doesn’t count) so sending her to the jury will also be dangerous. She would certainly influence the other voters in Jon’s favor.

By this time, I usually have narrowed the list of “suspects” to one or two but I have to be cautious this time so these are the ones I still see as Contenders:

Josh: Like Jon and Jaclyn, Josh is part of a hot couple and he also had his “honeymoon” moment. In the edited version of the events, Jeremy hasn’t talked to him and it seems that the firefighter was quick to dismiss the couple as possible allies. That could very well be Jeremy’s downfall because, at the merger, Josh and Reed should regain their attractiveness. They could be the couple in demand at that point but that probably won’t last. Baylor knows that Josh is sketchy while no one is connected to Reed. If the four couples team up after the merger, Josh and Reed should be the first eliminated once they have secured the numbers. Josh seems destined to drown in this game but he is one of the few smart players so we have to keep him on our list.

Baylor: Her mother says that she is there only to protect her kid and Baylor has more confessionals than her mom yet I see less positive content for the young cheerleader. Her own treachery almost led to Jaclyn and Jon aligning with Kelley and Dale. She should play a big role in uniting Josh and Reed to their couples’ alliance and she could also play a big role in betraying Josh and Jaclyn. If she does make those big moves then she could pay the price for her disloyalty. She would try to explain them as game moves but the others saw that she was disloyal from the start so they will see it as her true nature. For now, I think that she will be in the Finale with her mom but wouldn’t get the votes against the “nice mom” and whoever is there with them if it is a Final 3.

Keith: We already saw that he wants to provide for his tribe by going out to fish while the others relaxed in the water. If he makes it to the merger, that role could then carry Keith far. Being paired with Wes, no one will see him as an immediate threat and his good nature should contribute to keep him safe. Can he maneuver his way to the end? He’s already attached himself to Missy and Baylor, the idol can help if he can keep it secret and everyone likes to have a father figure around. He was first seen as a strict father but he has been quite easy-going after his name came up at Tribal Council. His answers to Jeff have always been very thoughtful, somewhat contradicting his country bumpkin persona. Would he be that level-headed answering a jury? It wouldn’t be easy to convince them that he deserves the title of Sole Survivor but he’d make them laugh and that could be enough. The overhead shot of Keith was nicely done and it’s another hint that Keith has to be on our list.

Missy: In protecting her daughter, could Missy win the game? It would truly be Survivor’s version of “Save the cheerleader, save the world”! Even if Dale sees her as a self-centered, bossy b*tch and Kelley called her a diva, everyone else likes Missy. Her motherly role was underlined with the rice scene. Since it didn’t kill her, we can say that it made her place in the story much stronger. Everyone can relate to the mama bear analogy so maybe her diva attitude can be forgiven or at least understood. It certainly would be something she could explain to the jurors and, through them, to the viewers. Her connection with Jon on Hunahpu, even if it wasn’t revealed, had to be the deciding factor in the couple’s vote. Her connection to Keith could play a bigger role down the line. I like Missy’s chances but even I have to note that her role in Drew’s boot wasn’t highlighted in the recap like it was in the previous episode.

Jon: We had noticed him in the premiere as being goofy but still having substance. Immediately, we knew that he was on a journey that could carry him far, a journey that, hopefully, he could share with his father. Every time he made a mistake, he was given the opportunity to explain himself. That led to a very consistent story, where only his vote against Keith was left unexplained. Keith is still on his tribe and he’s probably a more important part of his alliance than Jon realizes so that could be dangerous. We’ve had a big hint that Jon could win crucial immunity challenges down the road because Missy and Natalie saw Drew as a more dangerous opponent. Considering what we’ve already seen of Jon, he could outplay everyone; win his way to the end. There, his good nature could get him many votes. After this episode, Jon becomes a very serious contender.

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10-25-14, 03:16 PM (EST)
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49. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
LAST EDITED ON 10-25-14 AT 03:18 PM (EST)

Agree with your general sentiments this season, michel.

The only single player that I think you might sleeping on is Natalie. I think it's possible she could be getting a bit of a sneaky Tina, Vecepia, or Sophie-esque pre-merge edit. She was notably present during almost all of the boys and girls' conversations in the Drew vote and has always at least made her presence felt in each episode. Her interactions with Jeremy might make her look like a follower, but after the Drew vote, I don't think the audience is supposed to view Jeremy as a flawless player anymore. I think, if an opinionated and/or controversial person like Natalie would win, the editors might try to downplay her a little bit so we don't get angry at her snarkiness. When someone like Nadiya goes home first, they'll go out of their way to show how abrasive she can be sometimes. The fact that they back away from Natalie a little is a good sign for her.

(Ignoring the John Rocker incident. But I think, no matter what the final outcome, they just had to show that scene.)

I get the vibe that Josh could be our Aras of the season, a big character that is destined to be turned on at the merge. This role could easily be Jeremy, though. Josh could actually end up being on the winning side of the merge and be snaked at the Final 5 or whatever... I just feel like the show's insistence on pushing the Josh/Baylor relationship early on, means that this is going to be important. It might end up going away and being a loose end (like Morgan's feud with Jeremiah last season), but I just get the feeling that Baylor is going to stab Josh eventually. It's probably going to caused by Missy, I imagine.

I don't necessarily think that Baylor is going to win either. She seems more like either a misguided Ciera character, or maybe a Final 3 goat, but I'm not ruling her out either. I'm doubtful about Missy too, as the rice incident made both her and Dale look foolish and petty. They could have easily edited it differently if she wins.

I've been leaning toward Jon as our winner lately, although I had doubts after the Drew episode. The whole thing about his father in Episode 1 was very interesting to me. In the early seasons, them showing this stuff wouldn't be suspicious because they would try to make their characters three-dimensional. But in modern Survivor editing, they would never try to make us care about Jon unless he were going to stick around for a long time. They very easily could have just edited him as Drew's dopey friend (like Eddie from Caramoan). The father stuff could mean that Jon is our much-speculated quitter, but I don't get the quitter edit out of him in general.

I see shades of maybe a losing (but entertaining!) Troyzan edit out of him, but it could be spun into comeback winners edit too.

This season's editing has been interesting so far. Even though I like Josh, I kind of hope he doesn't win, just because he has the most traditionally-obvious winner's edit of the bunch. Kinda bummed that Kelley is gone because she was another one of my darkhorse candidates after the Drew vote. Stupid Dale.

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10-27-14, 09:35 PM (EST)
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54. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
Glad to see you back, Jims. Thank you for your input. M

y main problem with Natalie is that she doesn't have fans in the original Coyopa. They wished they could vote her out so would she be able to make them forigive and forget if she needs their votes?

For the rest, I agree with you and I'm also leaning towards Jon.

Stupid Dale indeed. Kelley was my pre-season pick and quite beautiful!

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10-27-14, 12:28 PM (EST)
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50. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
Loved the read Michel. I caught your blog over at RobHasAwebsite too, you get a bunch of good feedback there also.

I don't like Missy. There, I can't put my finger on why so for some reason it's a gut reaction. She may subconsciously reminds me of someone I don't care for but I'll leave it at that without a reasonable explanation.

Keep them coming Michel, I do enjoy your views on the show.

I should be watched....closely.

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10-27-14, 09:43 PM (EST)
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55. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
Thank you Suzzee, RHAP is a lot of fun but this is my place.

The feedback over there made me see a strong parallel between this season and the Outback and not just because of the possible trade of rice for tarp. Missy is the new Tina but not as nice a mom. Jon is her Colby, the not-so-bright, good looking strong guy that will help her get to the end. They even have a Keith who loves to go fishing. I wonder if he's as bad a cook as Kan't Kook Keith! So, will we have Keith voted out just before the F3 and will Jon do better than Colby?

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10-27-14, 03:55 PM (EST)
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51. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
Michel, once again, we are seeing things very similarly indeed, but you catch so much, and it’s always appreciated. I also love how you break it down in to the editing of the show, then how you see the story, then the individual edits of the characters and how they fit into the story. Well done, as always!

Jims, love hearing your two cents as well, but I don’t know about Natalie. She seems to be acting like Jeremy’s mouth piece, but for me, they make a nice “couple”. I think Natalie and Jeremy have some legs but I just don’t know how this show will shake out. Eventually the couples must go after couples, afterall, only one can win. I see it though as the couples trying to dominate over singles until they have to eat their own, then they do it one couple at a time. So, could our final 6 be 3 couples, final 4 be 2 couples, etc...

With the introduction Jiffy did spread the blame...2 tribes going in opposite directions, one couldn’t win, but the other tribe couldn’t be beaten, but they couldn’t live in peace either. We saw Val calling out Baylor for wanting them to vote out Dale and we saw Drew deciding to throw the challenge. It backfired and the majority came together to vote him out, leaving his only ally alone and in shock....Jon. This intro really pits Baylor against Dale, while also the majority gets backfired upon...Hey Jeremy...#toptobottom, while Jon goes from the bottom to the top. Everything we needed to know was tied up in the intro.

With the Rocker exit episode we saw Jacklyn at the bottom of her alliance....she was the last girl besides Baylor, so she could have been toast. But “the girls” turned the tables and got Rocker out, blindsiding him and his buddy Dale. Jacklyn went from being an apparently clueless player to flipping the tribe, according to last weeks intro.

Last episode we saw the apparently clueless little boys get blindsided, and now Jon finds himself on the wrong side of the numbers. He and his girlfriend are living parallel lives. They are seemingly horrible at the game of Survivor as singles...

We hear Jon, however working the group...I would have been with you, etc. In confessional he admits that Drew was his friend, but he also noted that he “stepped on alot of toes”. Jon was not blind to his faults and I think it was clear because he did not vote with him.

Jeremy in conf: He comes to me, I just swooped him up
I am right in the middle of where I want to be, I am in a beautiful spot right now.

Once again, Jeremy is shown to be arrogant, and now he’s got his “dumb” boy, right where he wants him...

Wes reads the tree mail, and Alec notes that he’s ready to go toe to toe with his brother...exit to Hero Arena and we get a nice reaction shot to Drew’s absence. His tribe supports him, they are really surprised, but Josh gets the nod by noting that they don’t know about the tribe sucks.

There were a lot of reaction shots from Kelly upon hearing what Coyopa had to say about their surprise. Then when Jiffy noted, “drop your buffs”, we heard Kelly say, “I knew it!” Right at that point, I really got the vibe that Kelly was toast. I think this is where they cut to commercial as well.

Then Jiffy specifically asks Kelly if she would be excited to be paired with her dad...then they open their buffs and Jiffy calls out the reunited pairs, we see Josh/Reed hug, and Jacklyn/Jon as well...we all know Jiffy loves the love. Jiffy calls out the tribes, 3 pairs of loved ones and one single on Coyopa, with all singles and one pair on Hanahpu...Keith said he would rather be with Wes, Reed said that he could be a target. Time will tell...

Jon gets the conf: When I first realized that Jacklyn and I would be on the same tribe, it was an extremely happy moment right when I needed it. When I was at Hanahpu I was on the wrong side of the numbers so it's a whole game changer...
He gets the confessional because now that he’s reunited with his GF, he’s gone from worst to first. And, I think so has she, so has she!

After the Jon confessional where he notes he’s gone from the wrong side of the numbers to a much better situation, re: worst to first, we get the contrasting confessional from Jeremy who had told us what a beautiful position he was in, now in conf. he notes: “I was not on anyones radar and bam, what happens now? Josh and Reed, Josh could work his magic on Reed and work on me”, then we see Josh and Reed. We hear Josh’s opinion on what he is thinking with the swap, a very enlightening and revealing confessional...”I am so excited to play with relationship with Reed gave me the strength to come out to my family and friends ,not everyone agrees how I live my life, we are remaining abstinent till we get married. It's that commitment that is going to take us all the way to the end...” (My first thought was that could indeed be a million dollar quote right there!)

Note that we had a confessional from Jon, then a confessional from Jeremy, then a confessional from Josh. Jeremy and Josh have already been identified as strong contenders for end game and important to this season’s story. Jon being lumped in with this group tells me he is in good company. I think all three have compelling winner stories at this point. Jon, as a single, failing, yet when reunited with his loved one, capitalizes and preserveres, starting out fun loving and immature and then matures through the show and learns by mistakes. Jeremy had his loved one removed from the game early and has had to navigate a world of couples on his own merits, now he’s gone from first to worst, can he make it? And, Josh, another who navigated well without his loved one at first, now reunited notes that it will be their commitment to one another that sees them through to the end.

I was so busy writing for the East Coast Spoiler thread that I didn’t even see the wave submerging Josh, but I have to agree, that sure sounds ominous for Josh’s chances. Good catch, michel!

I also love that you noted when we now switch over to camp Coyopa, we see a howler monkey jumping from one tree to another, remarking how they could be representative of Jon easily navigating the swap from Hun to Coy. I distinctly recall in the first episode when they noted howler monkeys...Baylor and Missy were afraid, but Jon loved them and howled up to them...! How astute, the old howler monkeys could be calling to our boy, Jon, after all!

Jon gets the confessionals and the screen time with GF, Jack: “It’s good. I feel good about it. They got a bunch of rice and I was like Yesss! We get to eat! I couldn’t have been happier but even more importantly; I am on the same tribe as Jaclyn.” We saw him kissing Jacklyn and then continues on... “I don’t care what implications this has. I’m just pumped. Being here with Jaclyn right now is a huge weight off my shoulders. She knows everything that is going on in my life especially my dad right now is dying of brain cancer. Jaclyn has been there for me every step of the way. I am excited that I can actually share so much of this experience with her and even more excited that it seems like we can help each other.”

He is giving us the gambit of emotions that he must be feeling, recognizing he is getting to actually play this game with his loved one, while at the same time, going from a really bad positon to suddenly going to a very good position. He has to be so "pumped". We all know how Jiffy loves the love, and, I think seeing them be affectionate with each other and then describing how they feel really hits at the emotions and heart of a loved one’s season. They verbalize it so beautifully.

Interesting that you noted in the pre-season media we heard that Jacklyn was unable to bear children and clearly, we have not seen any of this, so the story of this couple must belong to Jon. I agree, Jacklyn will be the supportive one. I have to say that I had no idea until you mentioned it within your post! Then I hunted it down and found a preseason interview with the couple from Jacklyn’s own Twitter feed...
Putting Jacklyn’s confessionals after Jon’s spells it out, I think. Jacklyn underlines Jon’s perception of their new situation. Jon will be the more invested character of the pair, but clearly I think they are destined to work well together as a cohesive and supportive team.

I loved Jacklyn telling Jon about the Coyopa dynamics and how Baylor flipped back and forth, and that she doesn’t trust Baylor or Josh. So, despite being on the bottom, apparently she was paying attention.

I also LOVED the scene with Baylor admiring the kissing couple and Jacklyn telling her, you guys will probably hate us, and Baylor disagreed heartily and had her confessional: “Jacklyn and Jon are in love, I am totally jealous, here I am with my mom....she's been married and divorced 3 times, my time will come and my mom's time will come again”...then she is all smiles. I like this Baylor, I love that she is admiring of them and not out to get them. This scene makes me like her and gives me hope that Baylor can work with Jacklyn and Jon in the future.
I also note that it’s always a good thing for players to talk about other players positively, and I thought this was good that Baylor is admiring Jon and Jacklyn as a couple.

Next we have Keith and his two cents, another significant character in the season...He talks about the brand new tribe and being the odd man out, but I laugh when he notes that while he might be by himself he’s got a little idol tucked away in his Boot....wouldn’t that be funny if his little idol “BOOTED” another right out of the game. I still LOVE the fact that he’s not told anyone about it! I loved the helicopter shot as well...I also love you noting that he’s providing for the tribe as a father would, a role that Dale failed to do!

Back to Hunahpu and Alec has his confessional about the new athletic tirbe and outlasting his brother in the game, finally beating him at something. Then Natalie and Jeremy going off to the well to plot, and I love the snake nod...Jeremy again perhaps being villainous with his side kick, Natalie?

Jeremy has his confessional regarding his assumption of Reed jumping with Josh, Alec, and Wes. He notes how he needs Alec and he’s just like his brother, and surround and drown...he still sounds villainous to me, surround and drown, with his plotting and stalking of the ignorant kid brother of Drew. If this story does turn out to be “all” about the couples than it’s easier and easier to see Jeremy as the antithesis of the couples, the villain, the penultimate single.

Now we get to the rice scene at Coyopa and Missy gets confessionals regarding the events going on currently there. Note she doesn’t get the confessional regarding the reaction to the split of the tribes. Missy goes on to say how all she wants to do is to protect her kid from the “guy that’s picking on her”. Then we hear from Dale, and Kelly, calling Missy out as a diva, and a “self-centered biotch”...Kelly notes that if she doesn’t play peacemaker Dale will put a big ole bullseye on his back and on hers...
I love the family comparison, paternal dad, Keith, matriarch, Missy, and the kids that all got along...Baylor, Jacklyn, and Jon-boy. Clearly, there is no room for a cantankerous old grandpa, Dale...or Kelly.

Dale tells us that they are voting going with Jon/Jack and against Missy/Baylor, Kelly tells us the same thing. Jon notes his strategy, “We have so many couples here that it really is all about finding your couple that you match up with. The most important thing is to read a situation and be able to say: Is this the best thing for me now? So, I’m leaving room to make adjustments.” Basically, after this episode this choice will either lead to the end road for Jon/Jack because they apparently made the right choice with Baylor/Missy, OR, it will lead to their swift demise because they could have made the wrong choice. I have a feeling with the way this played out that Jon/Jack make the right choice. Still, “there is room to make adjustments”!

We then see Jon/Jack getting to know the other couples better...
I agree, Missy most likely forged more relationships than Kelly did. Kelly was paired with Jeremy, but Jeremy was seen to be more tied to Natalie. Missy went to Julie when Jeremy and by association Kelly, dejected her. Missy most likely was pretty tolerant of the “dumb kids” on the tribe as well. It will be interesting to speculate about what happens when Missy is reunited with Jeremy and Natalie...
Tribal Council unfolded nicely, and I think we can sum it up by the following exchange: Dale said that Jaclyn and Jon were the hottest couple in camp right now. Baylor corrected him: “They are the hottest couple period.”

I have to add here that with all of the Jacklyn confessionals about how Baylor flipped flopped and she doesn’t trust her or Josh, and the warnings that Dale gave to her, I would not be surprised if Baylor and Josh were the demise of Jacklyn, down the road.

In this season of Blood vs. Water, the players have taken on a new tactic. Instead of singles banding together to get the couples broken up, Jon told us he wants it to be couples to the end. He was the first to mention the strategy, a positive sign, especially if it indeed unfolds this way. This theme continues with Jon being reunited with his GF, Jacklyn. While they were both seen as failing in their tribes as singles, now that they are reunited they are The. hottest. couple. period. In a game where the new strategy is to keep the couples together and vote out singles, I’d say being the “hottest” couple is a dang good place to be. Both were at the bottom, now that they are reunited, they are seriously on the top...just for phun, we’ll call it the “hot seat”.

I see the major characters of this story as Jon, Jeremy, and Josh. Baylor, Keith, and Missy as strong characters as well. I do see Jacklyn, Natalie, Reed as supporting characters to their loved ones and Jeremy. I see Wes, Alec, Julie, Dale as insignificant characters.

Next week, I predict the demise of Dale, but I think I have voted for him in the vote thread more than I have ever voted for any Survivor!

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10-27-14, 08:33 PM (EST)
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52. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
Jims, love hearing your two cents as well, but I don’t know about Natalie. She seems to be acting like Jeremy’s mouth piece, but for me, they make a nice “couple”. I think Natalie and Jeremy have some legs but I just don’t know how this show will shake out.

I mostly meant that Natalie is more of a sleeper than a clear contender at this point. I wouldn't be surprised if she just kind of falls by the wayside (kind of like a Leann maybe), honestly. I think there are much more obvious contenders at this point over her but she's someone I'm keeping on my radar just in case it's a tricky edit this year.

(No, they don't do tricky edits anymore very much, but I always keep it in the back of my mind in case all the major characters invalidate themselves again.)

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10-27-14, 09:31 PM (EST)
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53. "RE: Episode 5 - The Honeymoon"
LAST EDITED ON 10-27-14 AT 10:17 PM (EST)

I loved to read your thoughts, FP. You made me alugh with your hot seat and your votes for Dale. I really think his time has come.

You always give me more to think about and this time, you may have given me the missing link, the hint I was looking for to call the winner, when you wrote:

"I also love that you noted when we now switch over to camp Coyopa, we see a howler monkey jumping from one tree to another, remarking how they could be representative of Jon easily navigating the swap from Hun to Coy. I distinctly recall in the first episode when they noted howler monkeys...Baylor and Missy were afraid, but Jon loved them and howled up to them...! How astute, the old howler monkeys could be calling to our boy, Jon, after all!"

I almost had it but there it is: Jon is symbolized by the Howler monkey, he is one of them because he even talked to them. That introduction where a howler monkey scared Baylor and Missy had caught our attention and I now see that it really was important: Missy and Baylor will be there in the end but Jon (the howler monkey) will also be there and will be their biggest fear, the one that beats them. I won't make it official before the merge but Jon is now definitely my top contender.

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11-01-14, 02:08 PM (EST)
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56. "Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
The episode started with the Howler monkey jumping from one tree to the other and Jeff reminding us that the surprise switch gave us entirely different tribes: Coyopa with its three pairs of Loved Ones and Keith while Hunahpu only had one such pair, Josh and Reed, with a bunch of singles.

The new Coyopa had a fake idol, a real idol, and a new power couple. (Jon and Jaclyn were seen in their swim suit hotness)
We then heard Jaclyn’s interview: “Missy and Baylor want us and Kelley and Dale want us. It’s kind of crazy.”

Over at the new Hunahpu, Jeremy, Natalie and Julie were worried about losing their ally, Reed. “All they have to do is Josh work his magic on Reed and Reed can jump ship” said Jeremy in confessional which was heard in voice over while Josh and Reed were shown kissing.

To make matters worse, everyone was starving.
After Reed was heard saying that they were desperate for food, we saw Jeff raising his hands and yelling: “Jeremy wins immunity for Hunahpu.” After they won the immunity challenge, Hunahpu made a desperate plea. Jeff told them that it would cost a lot and that they’d have to wait for the next day to figure it out.
With Coyopa facing Tribal Council, Jon and Jaclyn had to choose between two couples. It was once more Jaclyn who told us about the situation: “Dale is sneaky and I’m sure his daughter’s the same way but Baylor flipped on me once and she could do it again.”

At Tribal Council, they decided to stick with Missy and Baylor, sending home Dale’s daughter, Kelley.

I had been comparing Jeremy to Marcus who also had a great story in Gabon... for a while. One of things that told me Marcus couldn’t win was the fact that Jeff never gave him praise for all of Kota’s wins. This time, Jeff clearly told us that Jeremy was the one responsible for winning immunity. We also heard that he lost his ally, something that could have been turned to Josh’s favor instead. Jeff could have said that Josh broke Hunahpu’s alliance or something along that line that would have made Josh look like a good strategic player. The way it was phrased told us immediately that Jeremy was in danger. The viewers can appreciate the strategic players and the underdogs alike but this recap was about the underdog.

As for Coyopa, there was no mention of the rice incident which is a very good sign for Missy. That whole fight with Dale wasn’t important after all and since we only heard Jaclyn’s interviews to explain the vote. The only segment chosen to explain the decision told us that Dale and Kelley were sneaky while Baylor’s flip in the first vote was a source of worries. Indirectly, the viewers were told that Missy was the only one that Jon and Jaclyn could trust. It’s interesting that Jon’s confessionals weren’t used at all to explain the decision. We could have heard Jon say that it was about reading the situation properly. It was as if Jaclyn suddenly became the more important player in that pair.

In the last image of the recap, Jaclyn had an expression of either doubt or regret after Jeff snuffed Kelley’s torch. Maybe this decision won’t work well for them in the end.

The New Power Couple

Coyopa – Night 13

Thunder and lightning greeted the tribe’s return to camp.

Dale had the first interview: “Tribal was probably has bad as it could get...You see complete strangers slaughter your daughter in front of your eyes and there’s nothing you can do about it... I don’t think there can be a father than can be more proud than I am of Kelley. I’m not going to give up until I can’t talk anymore”

That was a nice Survivor “epitaph” for Kelley, a way to thank a big fan of the show for playing and maybe better luck next time.

With war-like music in the background, a chipper Missy greeted Jon who was happy to see her preparing breakfast.

Dale’s confessional continued: “Just reading the votes last night, I know who’s next. Me! So I’ve got to do something drastic to make sure I don’t go home. I’m not dead before I see my name written four times.”

Those pesky numbers! I love the irony that Dale “died” even if his name was written only three times!

Dale showed his fake idol to Jon who bought into the bluff. In confessional, Dale reminded us that it wasn’t real but he hoped they would spend a few restless nights thinking it was.

Jon gave us an interview: “This morning, Dale showed me an immunity idol. If we lose in the next immunity challenge the idol, potentially, could ruin our plan and that really scares me.”

The camera showed four birds who were on their way to Hunahpu.

Alec was complaining to Jeremy, wondering if Jeff was about to tear down their camp.

Jeremy gave us an interview: “After we won the immunity challenge yesterday, Reed asked Jeff if we could make a trade for rice. If you are trading something for rice, Jeff is going to clean you out. I’m not having that like come on guys, we can suck it up. We could win a reward tomorrow, we could have feast tomorrow. Why are you all so hungry over a little bit of rice? It’s just mind-boggling to me.”

This whole segment made Jeremy look very good. I love how, with the right confessionals, the blame for Hunahpu’s rice shortage was switched from the original Hunahpus to the newly arrived complainers. Only Reed from the original Hunahpu kept his share of the blame. Jeremy even made it sound as if it was only Reed’s idea to beg for rice turning him into the Dumb Player.

With a military march accompanying him, Jeff made his way on Hunahpu beach, ready to destroy Hunahpu’s morale... or at least make fun of them!

Julie told Jeff that she was scared. Seeing that they were down to a handful of rice, Jeff reminded them that this only happened once before, in Australia were the situation was due to many hardships.

Reed said that there were too many cooks in the kitchen but Jeff corrected him, saying there were too many patrons in the kitchen.

This exchange indirectly absolves Missy. According to Reed, she wasn’t “the rice cooker”, there were many. And if that wasn’t enough, Jeff pointed out that the problem wasn’t with the ones cooking the rice but with those eating it.

Jeff then went to Josh, pointing out that they had done things the right way on Coyopa wondering how it made him feel. Josh said he felt very weak. Alec wondered what the hell had been going on but Jeremy interrupted him by saying: “It’s not like you guys are coming down here and stopping it.”

Jeff was enjoying this, saying that there had never been a tribe that had needed as much help as this one. Jeff repeated that the amount of food they had was part of the reason why they won so many challenges so he had to be fair to the other side. He had to impose a penalty. He took everything except a machete, a pot and a flint. He concluded by saying: “You are starting over.”

The tribe didn’t even discuss it; they simply started tearing the camp down.

Reed in interview: “Jeff took away our comfort, our tools and one of our pots which I feel is all worth it.”

Jeremy’s interview contradicted him: “They are all happy; I’m pissed. You know, he just took all our stuff. Why are you all happy? It’s so frustrating.”

Julie agreed with Jeremy: “We gave all our comfort back, it really sucked. Our tarp being gone is a really big deal to me. I don’t know if it is a big deal to everybody else as it is to me. I just know how I am: I am very worried about the rain. Being cold is really going to test me.”

This could be the beginning of the end for Julie who could very well be the person that quits but I wonder if this is misdirection. That was a very hard night but things should go better after the merge so, if she got through that night, she could be good.

Like the Grinch, Jeff walked away from camp dragging a big bag of goodies. There may have been a touch of evilness in his voice when he said: “Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain.”

In an episode that was boringly predictable, this gave a touch of drama... and comedy. The sound of a big bass drum was heard six times while the tribe watched Jeff leave with their stuff.

The Challenge Arena

While the camera showed us an anxious Wes, it was Natalie and Julie who were surprised to see that Kelley had been voted out. “Oh my God” said Julie when Natalie turned to her.
As Jeremy noted, they would soon have a chance to feast.
Each tribe was allowed to choose their strongest competitor. Reed told Hunahpu that he was comfortable with that challenge while Baylor stepped up for Coyopa.

We saw both Missy and Josh cringe when their Loved One hit their head on an obstacle.

Jeff gave us and the blindfolded players a play-by-play description of the match.

Wouldn’t it be better if the blindfolded players couldn’t know about their opponent’s progress? Baylor had a better strategy: She was getting the bags first and didn’t study the mask at first while Reed was studying the mask before taking the first bag. When Jeff informed him that Baylor was already returning with her nag, Reed quickly adjusted his tactic.

As an aside, Baylor should try to get a commercial deal with whatever company made that orange nail polish she wears because it still looks as good on day 14 as it did on day 1. Survivor nail polish? Who knew! Unless they were allowed to bring luxury items and she does her nails every day. Luxury items; Remember those?! My favorites were Robb’s skateboard because it was so useless on a beach and the immunity idol from China that James brought with him to Micronesia.

Reed had very little trouble completing the puzzle and he won the bar-b-q for Hunahpu and he started crying. He explained the tears by saying the challenge was stressful and that they were so hungry.

Baylor was also on the verge of tears, disappointed that she couldn’t do it. She felt like she had let her tribe down.
When he had to decide which of his tribe mates he would send to Exile Island and deprive of the feast, Reed first chose Julie: “She has been doing well out here and she could show John just how much she can deal with.”

Julie almost immediately agreed but Natalie said she was going to volunteer. That really surprised Julie and instantly brought a smile to Missy’s face. Natalie explained that Julie had provided while she hadn’t.

Since Natalie wanted to go, Reed ended up choosing her. Julie and Missy thanked Natalie.

Missy in confessional: “Baylor is in very good hands. Natalie said: “I’ll go to Exile Island. I know I have Natalie, I know she is with me and I think it’s going to be super beneficial.”

That was an outstanding move by Natalie. I was really impressed by her strategic decision and it shows those who say that this format reduces the level of strategy that new moves can come from it. Natalie instantly showed Missy that she can be trusted, that she will do whatever it takes to help her daughter, sacrificing the feast and the comfort of the shelter to stay with Baylor. Also, this indirectly tells us how great Missy’s social game had been while she was on Hunahpu since she got someone to do this for her and her daughter. We had seen glimpses that Missy was well liked by her former allies but this shows that Natalie didn’t just like Missy, she thought of her as a close friend.

Coyopa – Day 14

We saw Keith fishing once more but he wasn’t having any success.
Keith (solo): “The fish, they are biting but I think they are too little, I can’t catch ‘em. They’re nibbling and then they get my bait every time.”

We then saw the Howler monkey walking on a branch as if it had been spying on Keith. We heard Jon talking to Missy: “Natalie’s totally with you still.”

Missy agreed, saying: “There’s no way she would have gone otherwise.”

We heard the Howler Monkey screaming just before Jon delivered a big news: “This morning, Dale showed me an immunity idol.”

Jaclyn was on screen when he said that, suggesting he was telling the story for the first time to both Jaclyn and Missy. I noticed that we saw all three of them walking by Keith favorite fishing hole but Jon’s revelation was done in voice over with only Jaclyn shown on screen. We didn’t see the words coming from Jon’s mouth while all three were on our screen so it’s possible that Jon didn’t tell both at the same time. It would be much more likely that he’d tell Jaclyn in private first and then they’d spring it on Missy if they agreed it was the best thing to do. Presented this way, it gave the impression that Jon trusts Missy as much as Jaclyn which could be very dangerous in this game.

Jaclyn couldn’t believe it: “Get out. It sucks so bad.”

With Keith seen in the background, Jon laid his plan: “If we lose the next immunity challenge, we could actually take Dale and use him to vote Keith out.”

Missy gave us an interview: “So today, Dale decides to show Jon that he has an idol. That’s a little wrinkle in the plan.”
The scene ended with Jon saying that he’d like to keep Keith but couldn’t see how it could happen.

It’s nice for Keith that we heard his name mentioned, putting him in danger but it would have been nicer if he had been more involved in saving himself.

Exile Island

We saw the two women arriving near the exile rock.

Natalie in confessional: “Me making this move to volunteer to go to exile, I hope that it plays in my favor. Once we merge, this will prove to Missy and Baylor that, listen, we need to take care of Natalie if she is not taken care of.”

Baylor got the parchment with the clues and we heard that the idol is now buried near the flags, not the water well.

Natalie’s confessional continued: “Baylor had the immunity idol clue, she showed it to me. I didn’t ask her, she just showed it to me. Getting information from Baylor, I feel like long term, is way more important for me than some food reward.”

Natalie told Baylor that she needed to find the idol over there and that her or Jeremy needed to find the one back at their camp. Baylor agreed adding: “Then we could run with it.”

Baylor immediately showed the clue to Natalie and she agreed that it would be just as good of Jeremy was the one who finds the Hunahpu idol. That tells us that Baylor trusted Natalie so she must have spoken a lot with her mother about the alliance she had with those two. It now looks like we underestimated the bond between Jeremy and his girls. In order to say that the couples are going to take over after the merge it seems that we will have to consider Jeremy and Natalie as “Twinnies”! Those two have been singles for so long that they’ve developed a strong bond and they’ve really made a strong connection with Missy.

Natalie’s confessional continued: “Me, Jeremy and Julie, we are on the chopping block. Long term whatever Baylor says, I am listening to because Missy I trust and if I can trust Missy, I can trust Baylor.”

Not only was Natalie making a smart move for herself when she volunteered to go to Exile Island but she was also thinking of her alliance and the post-merge numbers.


The sun was setting on Day 14 and the spirits were high... for the moment.

Josh in confessional: “I am so proud of Reed for pulling it out. We came back with 8 shish-kebabs and a bar-b-q pit and I’m like, yes, that’s my guy; he did that.”

Jeremy didn’t seem too happy to see the two guys kissing.
Jeremy in confessional: “Josh and Reed: They walk around like they own the place and then they are all lovey-dovey with each other. If Val was here, we’d be so separate that you would think we don’t like each other at all. That’s what you are supposed to do but these two, hugging and kissing; that’s a threat.”

It seemed that Jeremy was only talking about the implications for the game: He was irritated that Josh and Reed were taking control of the game. However, his irritation was presented right after the camera showed them kissing. Some could say that Jeremy’s reaction showed that he was homophobic. I’m not sure about the intent of this scene but I felt like more care could have been given to Jeremy’s reputation.

When the meat was cooked, we heard Alec’s interview: “I’m a meat collector. I eat meat a lot.”

Again, Jeremy had the rebuttal confessional: “We just had our feast but we didn’t have our tarp anymore because the “brainiacs” (Josh and Reed on screen) wanted to give that away. If we had just left it for another day, we would have had a full meal. They are so dumb.”

Sure enough, the clouds rolled in and it started raining. They all huddled in the shelter and Julie didn’t look too good. “I just cannot handle being this wet all night. I feel like I’m breaking. I’m at the breaking point” she said.

Jeremy in confessional: “Oh! Julie, Julie, Julie. It’s a sad situation. She’s crying, ready to go home. If Julie quits, I wouldn’t know what to do because I am dying for numbers but if she has to go, I need her to go before I go. So I can make this merge and I can make some magic happen.”

Hunahpu – Day 15

The next morning, we saw Jeremy comforting Julie: “Don’t let it break you... We did good. We passed that bad night.”

While Jeremy said the right things, we had just heard his confessional so he looked very selfish. At least, he was honest with her, saying that he needed her.

Crying, Julie said she thought every night was going to be like this one. She gave us a confessional: “Jeremy keeps checking in with me this morning. He’s telling me: Hang in there, I need you. He’s here to protect me, I’m here to protect him. It was the hardest night of my life. I thought about it a million times... You can jump ship at any time but I am sitting here right now and that speaks volume to me.”

Alec didn’t mince words: “This is Survivor. You signed up for this ( censored ). Go home.”

That sums up the audience feelings regarding whiners and quitters.

The Immunity Challenge

Julie sat out of the challenge.

While Hunahpu’s strength gave them an advantage while rolling the wooden cube, Jon really outperformed Jeremy in getting the bags off the coils. That gave Jon and Missy a nice head start on the flag puzzle and Jeff said they were working well together but Jon got stuck after the third banner. Josh and Reed were able to catch up and take the lead, never looking back. Hunahpu won immunity.

Right after Jeff handed the idol to Hunahpu, we heard Jaclyn consoling Jon: “You did great, really,” but Jon was despondent: “No” he said, looking down at the ground.

While it was Missy’s role to give the right banner to Jon, the camera focused almost entirely on Jon as he kept putting up the wrong banner. No blame was put on Missy. That looked like a great sign for her. Jaclyn’s words made me think she’d say the same thing if Jon fell a little short of the final victory and he’d be even more heartbroken.

On the other side, if Reed and Josh really wanted to get rid of Jeremy before the merge, then they missed a glorious occasion to throw the challenge with no one realizing what they were doing.
Asked to explain Coyopa’s feelings, Dale said it eloquently: “What happens tonight hurts more than this.” Missy agreed.

Coyopa – Day 15

Keith narrated the events: “We can’t catch a break. What do you do? I mean, we were there today. It is frustrating. (he spit to show his dejection) Now, my job is to get Dale out of there and get to the merge where I can reunite with Wesley and we are going to have a strong pact then. I got my back-up plan too. It’s great having that idol, You can always pull that baby out. I don’t want to but you always can. That is the luxury of having it.”

If it was his job to get rid of Dale then Keith had a strange way of going about business because he went for a nap. Despite that, the fact that we keep hearing him talking about the idol could signal that he uses it to save himself at some point. We’ve often heard arrogant players saying that they had a big advantage because of the idol but there isn’t arrogance in Keith’s words, just a realization that the idol could help. Since there wouldn’t be the satisfaction of seeing the arrogant player fall then letting us hear Keith’s words indicates that he will use it successfully.

After a spider crawled out of a pot, we heard Dale talking to Jon: “I suck at this...Losing. I don’t want to play my idol tonight”. He offered the same deal that Terry had tried with Danielle: “If I am not voted out tonight... I will give you my idol.”

Dale explained his reasoning in confessional telling us the idol, wasn’t real so he couldn’t play it. He was bartering that idol for votes.

I have to wonder about the players’ bartering skills. After Drew and Reed’s failures, it was Dale’s turn to make a terrible offer. If you want to use an idol, fake or not, you have to go to the person you want to eliminate and threaten them by saying: If you vote against me, YOU are the one leaving. The idol works better as a weapon than a gift so Dale should have shown it to Missy. Also, he should never have mentioned that he didn’t want to play it. As soon as he did, he made it irrelevant: Whether the idol was real or fake, Jon now knew that he could get Dale out.

As soon as he had exposed his plan to Jon, Dale’s confessional continued: “For tonight...We are going to vote Missy out. Missy has got the most ties in the previous camp.”

This confirms our impression that Missy is well connected in her original tribe. She is the player to watch.

In his interview, Jon reflected on the plan: “Dale said if he doesn’t go home tonight, he will give me his immunity idol. It’s very tempting to take that offer but you can’t just get hung up on small details. I have to consider all the pieces of this puzzle.”

Instead of considering all the pieces by himself, Jon told Baylor, Missy and Jaclyn about Dale’s offer.

Missy was quick to point out: “The four of us need to get further and in order to do that; we have to get rid of him.”
They agreed to put three votes on Dale and two on Keith.
Missy (solo): “Just in case Dale has this idol, we are going to have three people vote Dale and then Baylor and I are going to vote Keith. If he plays his idol, Keith goes home and I’m sad about that but better Keith than me or Baylor.”

Jon and Jaclyn further considered the pieces when they found each other alone in the ocean. Jon said that if they went with Dale, they would be alone with the idol. Jaclyn wondered if it was a real idol and Jon said: “I really think it’s real.”

Why did we have to hear Jon say that he thought the idol was real if he was going to vote against Dale anyway? Since we knew the idol wasn’t real, letting us hear this exchange made Jon look quite foolish.

Jon in interview: “Jaclyn and I, once again, find ourselves in the middle. There are options here. One: We could vote for Dale, we could take out Keith or we could vote for Missy. I feel like the best option would be to actually align with Dale and use the idol for the alliances’ advantage but the biggest thing that I need to do for this vote is to line myself up so that, when the merge happens, Jaclyn and I are a power couple.”

Tribal Council

We saw that one of Hunahpu’s snakes made it to the swap!
Dale first told Jeff that voting a Loved One hits you like a ton of bricks.
Jon and the howler monkey agreed.
Baylor compared being on Exile Island to being a kid lost in a grocery store unable to find your parent. “It’s scary and it’s tough and you don’t know if you are going to make it.”
That got to Missy who said she wasn’t there for her daughter. Baylor started to cry because as she said: “When she cries, I cry.”
Jeff pointed out that Missy wasn’t crying but Baylor knew she was just about to start.
Dale said he could only think about the next 12 hours.
Jon told Jeff that he talked with Dale which got a reaction from Keith.
Jaclyn told Jeff that it was nice to get an extra view point on things.
That remark caught Missy’s attention, and she said that it was a bit disconcerting to hear that.
Dale said he was loyal and a lone vote and that he didn’t have any ties to anybody in the game.
Baylor countered that she was more loyal than Dale, surprising the farmer.
Dale answered: “I like Baylor but she needs to own up to her game.”
While Dale won’t be a juror, this continued story line about Baylor’s refusal to acknowledge her role in the first vote tells me that she won’t be able to convince the jury.
Jeff asked Jaclyn to go back to day one when considering who was loyal.
Jaclyn agreed that Baylor did kind of flip on her.
Jon said that they were coming to the merge so he wanted to know who he could trust in the long term.
Jon’s comment signaled that it was time to vote.
Dale was seen playing with his bag but it was too late to bluff because Jeff had already left to tally the votes.
When asked to play an idol, neither Dale nor Keith stood but it seemed that the firefighter had his eyes on Dale, ready to pop up and play his own idol.
As soon as the second vote for Dale was revealed, everyone knew the outcome but I wonder how Keith will react to his two votes. He looked straight at Missy, seemingly knowing the origin of those two votes.
Dale walked off, Missy smiled and we heard Jon telling Jaclyn that she was beautiful. The two smiled.
Jeff sent them back to camp after saying: “You said it was the biggest vote thus far and it was centered around loyalty. The question that time will answer is: Did you make the right decision?”
Right then, Missy gave us a big smile, telling us that time will indeed tell us that it was the right decision for her.

The Story

The dynamics of Hunahpu had been so well hidden that we underestimated the strength of the bond between the women and Jeremy. The vote against Kelley had contributed to make me think that a cross-tribal alliance of couples would take over but this episode really put the original Hunahpu alliance into focus. The only way we’ll be able to say that the couples take over after the merger is if we consider that Jeremy is an honorary “twinnie”! The five women of Hunahpu lost one member when Kelley was voted out but they gained 3 votes now that Jaclyn, Jon and Baylor will be joining them. In that alliance, we heard about the Hottest Couple but a real Power Couple has emerged.

The Characters

The Constants – These players haven’t evolved in the last episodes:

Reed: The whole bartering for rice fiasco was mostly put on his shoulders when we heard Jeremy’s first confessional. If that wasn’t enough, we heard Reed say he was happy with the trade but Jeremy told the audience how it should be viewed: “They are all happy; I’m pissed.” Along with Julie and Baylor, Reed was one of three players whose moment of weakness was questioned by Jeff this week. “Why the tears?” he asked him after he won the reward. Like the other two, Reed didn’t exactly look like a Survivor in that moment. I still think he could be our quitter if Josh gets voted out.

Wes: We know that he will join with his father after the merge but how strong will their pact be? His meagre role in the first 6 episodes doesn’t exactly bode well for any future story arc. Most likely, Wes will have one episode with a few confessionals before making the real “walk of shame”.

Alec: He is actually devolving, turning more and more into his older brother with each passing episodes. Eating and cursing at a woman was his only role in this one. If he was more of a threat in tactical skills, he’d be the typical merge boot because of his athleticism and his lack of allies. As it stands, he will simply be one in a string of ex-Coyopa players that will leave in the next few episodes.

Josh: The merge episode is building up into a struggle between Josh and Jeremy but it won’t be fought on an even playing field. While Josh looked like a formidable player after the first three episodes, his star has paled since he has moved to Hunahpu and joined with Reed. Like his partner, he complained about the lack of food and was ready to trade all the comfort for a bag of rice instead of continuing to play the game like Jeremy. With the possible exception of Keith, the merge will not bring him any reinforcement so he will need to win or find immunity to last until episode 8. He was in a great position to get rid of Jeremy before the merger because all he had to do was to throw a challenge that Jeremy had already compromised.

Julie: We heard that she reached her breaking point so it’s very possible that she will quit when the next storm hits them. Will she be there to vote with her allies at the merge? Could she quit if she realizes that her vote isn’t needed? It was nice to see her recover after that tough night so I’d like to see a story of perseverance from Julie but since we know someone will quit, it makes it hard to envision. I hate long range spoilers even if they come from SeeBS itself.

The Variable:

Keith and his idol: The clueless continue to survive. I’d say it’s great for us: Keith is a good narrator despite his limited abilities and he’s been an enjoyable character. Hearing him say that he was ready to take a nap after telling us he had a job to do, making sure Dale got voted out, wasn’t a very promising note for his future chances though. Of course, Bob famously napped his way to victory but that was in episodes where the “Onions” were in charge and Bob wasn’t considered for elimination. Putting “my job is to get Dale out of there” next to “Can I take a nap?” wasn’t the best way to portray Keith in an episode where he was one of the alternate votes. Still, he has an idol and it doesn’t appear that he will waste it because he isn’t as arrogant about it as the other players we saw over the years leaving with one (or two!) in their pocket. Who will be the idol’s victim? As far as I am concerned, Jeremy is the prime candidate but the way he looked at Missy after seeing his name pop up twice means that she will have serious damage control to do. After all, his question about the nap was addressed to Missy so that means he trusted that she would take care of business and get rid of Dale. While we heard she would be sad to see Keith go, she didn’t hesitate to put his head on the chopping block. How will Keith react?

The Power Players

Jeremy: While this episode confirmed that he wasn’t going to be faced with a vote before the merger, we still heard him talking about strategy. There will be no need for “Surround and Drown” so that whole scene could have been left on the cutting room floor but it was still an integral part of last week’s story. That tells us that Jeremy will be a very important player after the merger, that he will be part of the dominating faction. I still don’t see him as a winner because we see too many negative moments from him. Every time he talked negatively about Josh and Reed, we were shown the couple kissing so that gives the impression the kiss was just as much the source of his irritation as their actions in the game. That wouldn’t be the best way to show the “Sole Survivor”. Also, even if we know that he bad-mouths his opponents mostly in confessionals, his scowls are in evidence in group pictures so that should tell the others what he thinks of them.

Natalie: I was very impressed by Natalie’s move in this episode. It showed that she understands that trust is the key ingredient in this game and, more importantly, she found a way to earn trust outside of Tribal Council. Usually, the surest way to prove that you can be trusted is to vote the way you say you will but, in this format, volunteering to accompany someone’s kid to exile Island, in effect promising to protect them, is an even better way to show you can be trusted. After the merger, Natalie and Missy are going to be working together, making the plans to get to the end. The fact that the cameras didn’t show Natalie and Baylor on Exile Island on that terrible night is not a good sign for her final success.

The Hot Couple

Jaclyn: Her star has been shining brighter since the swap and she was featured even more than Jon in the recap, her words being the ones used to explain their decision. Since Dale went to Jon with his bluff, it made her take a step back in airtime again but she was still the voice of reason, the one that questioned the authenticity of the idol. I still see her expression of regret or doubt after eliminating Kelley so that indicates that she may regret joining Missy before all this is said and done. Even at the end of Tribal Council, a moment Jeff described as the most vital one of the game thus far, the focus was on Jon saying how beautiful she was. That indicates they aren’t focused enough on the game and they might regret yet another decision.

Jon: He was associated twice with the Howler Monkey in this episode, once when he told Missy and Jaclyn that Dale showed him the “idol” and later when the monkey “agreed” with him when Jon answered Jeff’s question. However, Jon was neglected during the recap and he looked foolish to fall for Dale’s bluff even if he played it well in the end. Presently a part of the power couple, Jon should understand that his hesitations before every vote are the worst way to keep power. A power player needs to be trusted and the others will become worried to see him hanging in the middle so much.

This episode gave me a new interpretation of what the monkey represents. Unlike the tarsier who symbolized Cochran as the small predator that outlasted all the big ones, the monkey is only a menace, a threat hanging over Missy and Baylor. Jon will still be there in the end and will represent the last threat to their victory but he isn’t a killer. He could win his way to the final Tribal Council but he won’t vote them out. Would he get the votes in the end? I’m less positive after this episode.

The Power Couple

Baylor: Natalie is the one that truly fits here with Missy but, in this format, we know that Baylor will always be tied to her mother. So, like the three Musketeers who were four, maybe my Power Couple should have three members! I’ll make a concession to semantics and leave it at two. This episode really showed us that we weren’t watching Baylor’s story but her mother’s. While on Exile Island, Baylor was practically ignored: The focus, the little they received, was all on Natalie. Baylor will be sitting in front of the jury but her vote in the first episode will be once more brought to light and Baylor will still be unable to own up to her game.

Missy: I feel more and more like she will be our “Sole Survivor”. Consider these:

- According to the recap, the decision to boot Kelley was made because Jaclyn had something bad to say about everyone but Missy.

- The rice incident was not only ignored in the recap, but Jeff even said the problem wasn’t with the cook but with the patrons.

- We finally had some key confessionals from Missy and they came at the perfect time because her name was on the chopping block. Unlike Keith, she didn’t take a nap when it was time to get the job done and make sure Dale was voted out.

- We heard that she had the most connections in her original tribe and Natalie’s decision to volunteer to go to Exile Island showed that Missy is not only connected but that she is respected and liked. Gaining Missy’s trust was so important to Natalie that she turned down a feast. A player that has the others’ trust is the most powerful player in the game.

- The camera focused on Jon's failure during the flag puzzle when it could have focused on Missy who had to be fumbling around with the banners.

- At Tribal Council, I couldn’t help but notice that Jeff said “But she isn’t crying” when Baylor blamed her tears on her mother’s. It probably didn’t mean much and Missy has been shown crying before but, in this moment, it showed that she was standing up to the rigors of the game a little better than Baylor.

- The smile that was revealed by the camera after Jeff said that time would tell if they made the right decision meant much more: When the dust settles over this season, Missy will be smiling still.

I will wait to see how she is portrayed during the merger but Missy should be able to get rid of Josh, the sketchy player, his allies, the other power players and break up the hot couple to stand in the end with her daughter.

Who will be the 3rd player facing the jury? Since Missy would be sad to see Keith go then it could very well be him but she will have to smooth things over with him after the votes at this latest Tribal Council. If not Keith then Natalie or Jon. The vote would be hard to call if Jon is sitting next to them. However, Missy is liked and Jon is seen as a goof ball so maybe she could even beat him.

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Jims03 77 desperate attention whore postings
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11-01-14, 03:42 PM (EST)
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57. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
LAST EDITED ON 11-01-14 AT 03:50 PM (EST)

Still agree with your general sentiments. After the Kelley episode, I wasn't so sure about Missy being the winner but the clues were definitely there (like her comforting Julie earlier). This past episode was really good for her. She smacked down Jon's ideas so quickly. It really feels more like Jon is going to be the "character" and Missy is going to be the "player" in that alliance.

I feel like the editing is making it really obvious that Josh, Wes, Alec, and Reed will end up getting knocked out at the merge. Wes and Alec have fallen so far into the background that they seem like the boring Pagong boots now. The Morgans and Jeremiahs of the world. I suspected that Baylor would screw over Josh, and it really looks like that's where they're leading toward. Baylor is portrayed as just following around her mother, so I think it's very unlikely that she'll be able to have her friend Josh come over, when it's her mom's night to play bridge with Jeremy and Natalie.

I'm actually getting kind of annoyed at this season at how they spun the rice bartering into "Jeremy is right, they're all whiny" when HIS TRIBE WAS THE ONE WHO ATE ALL THE RICE. And then Missy on the other tribe is still shoving rice down their gullets. It is so obvious that Jeremy's tribe was the "irresponsible" one (although strategically sound, I suppose) but they way they spin it, really gets on my nerves, and makes it obvious that Jeremy's faction is going to win out over Josh's.

I hope I'm wrong. Jeremy is really annoying to me. I mean, Tony was annoying sometimes, but at least he could be annoying in an extremely entertaining way. I think I'm just grumpy this season because I miss my Cagayan people so much.

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11-01-14, 09:26 PM (EST)
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61. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
I understand your frustration about the edit about the rice situation. I have many reservations about Jeremy myself. It does show how easy it is to change people's perception though and that fascinates me. I bet most casual viewers like Jeremy for his stance.

As for Cagayan, that season annoyed me a lot more than this one. Listening to Tony afterwards, it seemed that the editors did their best to make him look crazier than he was.

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11-01-14, 06:28 PM (EST)
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58. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
Fantastic recap, Michel, as per usual.

While I find myself strongly persuaded by the general tenor of your gameplay analysis, I'm having a difficult time envisioning Missy as the Sole Survivor. Although the memory banks are proving a tad hazy, I cannot recall another potential winner whose screentime has been so minimal, and back story left so sparse of details except for those provided by another (ie, Baylor). I know Missy has been thrice divorced, had some questionable taste in men, and at least one husband (Baylor's biological father) who is also prone to shedding tears. Other than that, bupkis. Compare that to the fact we know of Jeremy's occupation, compatibilities, and (snarky) perceptions of his fellow tribe members; of Josh's adaptable nature and difficulties as a conservative-bred homosexual and the commitment he has made with his partner; Jon's father's terminal illness and what rigors that has imposed upon the son in juxtaposition to his innate tendency to goofiness. I just don't see Missy, as so far delineated, being the final winner. An important piece of the journey to the end, doubtless: but I'm still favouring Jeremy or Jon or Baylor, and then Josh and Keith as outlier possibilities, over that of the socially well-connected maternal player.

Just my two cents: and there remain plenty of episodes for me to get on board the Missy train...

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11-01-14, 06:40 PM (EST)
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59. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
Try watching the last three episodes again and pay attention to how Missy is interacting with others when it comes to important decisions being made. Her footprint is during these moments. The editing is really, really kind to Missy when she's had numerous moments that could easily have had the editors bludgeoning her - there's an apparent reason for this.

There's been plenty of winners that weren't focused on all that much pre-merge and then their games became more obvious post-merge. When you have strong characters like Tony, he's going to be focused on, of course, but when you have strategic players you're only going to see them during key discussions. I can think of numerous examples where winners were less focused on than Missy has been so far -- Natalie, Vecepia, Sophie, Bob, just to name a few. Denise was focused on early because of her fight to survive on a terrible tribe, but we knew less about her as a person after six episodes than we do about Missy thus far.

I've had Missy in the final three since about episode 2, it seems very clear to me, and I agree that she's in the favourite's chair for the title so far.

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Jims03 77 desperate attention whore postings
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11-01-14, 07:11 PM (EST)
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60. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
LAST EDITED ON 11-01-14 AT 07:13 PM (EST)

The only problem I see with comparing Missy's edit to other UTR winners is that there isn't a big enough character this season to explain why the winner would be so hidden.

Natalie fell in the background because Samoa because The Russell Show.
Vecepia was surrounded by people like Boston Rob and Sean (and Kathy post-merge).
Sophie had to contend with Coach and Brandon (and then later Cochran and Ozzy) for screentime.
Bob's edit is still kind of a mystery to me, to be honest.

The only person on her tribes so far that would eat up all the screentime from her would be Jeremy. So her moving away from him would explain why she's been a little more visible lately. But I have to admit, the UTR comparison is still a little unsatisfying. If Missy wins, I would say Tina would be the closest comparison thus far. Slow starter who gets a couple character scenes early, who evolves into a strategic force as the season progresses.

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11-01-14, 09:37 PM (EST)
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63. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
Hello Pepe, so nice to see you here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. What made you like Missy's chances so early?
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11-01-14, 10:14 PM (EST)
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64. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
LAST EDITED ON 11-02-14 AT 08:03 AM (EST)

You outlined many of the reasons that made Missy jump out at me - but one thing that I've reliably gone back to over the many seasons since then is what Tina Wesson said the following season after her win: look at who's sitting with whom. The editing pattern changes from season to season, but in general I've found the most consistent factor has tended to be who the winner hangs out with and how much of a role he/she has in the overall tribal dynamics. The winner does not always have to be the one making decisions but is usually shown being in on all of the decisions and then speaking about it in confessional (Sophie, for one).

Sometimes, it's a 'feel' thing for me based on how they're presented and I find that I can usually narrow down a potential winner to 2 or 3 candidates by the second episode every season. There's been seasons where I was completely thrown off from the get go by the editing - Nicaragua and Guatemala were two particular examples for me.

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11-01-14, 09:33 PM (EST)
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62. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
Thank you, Tyrone.

Missy isn't as developed as some of the others but, according to dabo's count, she is still right in the middle as far as number of confessionals go. That's where many winners find themselves at this stage of the game.

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11-02-14, 02:05 AM (EST)
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65. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
Missy wasn't really backburner at Hunahpu. She was shown being the shoulder for Julie and Natalie to cry on. She had a confessional during Natalie's as well and they emphasized on her past relationships in the second IC with her daughter. The third episode, she's shown getting the tribe to do something and then later is with Julie but no confessional and thats probably because it was a Rocker boot episode. The fourth episode, she's shown with the Keith idol scene and with being the one saying Drew should go. Two off episodes should not write her off, she's had emphasis on the four other episodes.
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66. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
LAST EDITED ON 11-02-14 AT 02:07 AM (EST)

But that said, she's a factor in the endgame but Jon's been the edit leader on NuCoyopa and it to me is going to be Jeremy against Jon.

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11-05-14, 07:11 PM (EST)
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67. "RE: Episode 6 - The New Power Couple"
So bummed this has been a crazy week but I still wanted to get a few thoughts in here! Michel, always a great read and when you make points, I listen! I am not ready to call the winner yet. I do love the family theme that you nailed...Missy/Keith/Baylor/Jon seem to be the family...Missy and Keith the parents, but I am beginning to think that Keith is the Grandfather....choosing to nap while Missy agrees, he's earned it! So Missy is the matriarch, Jon and Baylor the kids. I think Natalie will be one of her kids too, but I don't really know where Jeremy fits...he has been villainous but, he always seems to speak the in this episode, when Julie was up all night and ready to quit, Jeremy preceded the scene saying the "brainiacs" couldn't suck it up and had to trade everything, the tarp, for food...the merge is here, and they just had shish-k-bobs that day, clearly indicating that it was a very stupid move to trade their shelter supplies for food, it will most likely cost them Julie. Clear foreshadowing.

Could Jeremy be the father role? Clearly a snarky one, but maybe?

The intro: on Coy: 3 pairs of LO's and keith, on Hun 1 couple and a bunch of singles...on Coy they had a real idol and a fake idol, and a new power couple....they all want us, it's kind of crazy...
At Hun they were worried that Reed could jump ship, to make matters worse, they were starving...Jeremy wins immunity for HUN, and after they won, they made a desperate plea...with Coy facing TC, J/J had to choose between 2 couples...and at TC, they decided to stick with M/B sending home, Dale's daughter, Kelly. 13 left, who is next?

The target next week, I think, will be someone from could be Julie, but it could be someone else too, someone that Jeremy of the "brainiacs".

The question of the entire episode was posed very early in the show, when Dale showed Jon the fake idol. Would it save him or not?

Then, Jiffy shows up for the trade...Jeremy, who is really "pissed", and Julie get the confessionals. Julie will be affected the most negatively by the trade, and Jeremy could be as well, if Julie quits before the merge.

At the RC, Reed is emotional when he wins, and picks Julie to go...can you imagine if she had gone to EI...she would have quit immediately! LOL! But, Natalie jumps up to go....BRILLIANT move, imo! Natalie is making ties to the other tribe, so she will not be picked off as a single...Missy in conf agrees: Natalie is WITH ME! Clear foreshadowing that Natalie and Missy are strongly tied together, this is important when they take sides post merge.

Once again the Howler Monkey precedes Jon. Clearly, he symbolizes Jon, and I do think that is very important this season.

Then the weighty confessionals about the big lunch they had, then the rain and Julie possibly quitting. If she has to go, he needs her there until he makes merge. Will Julie leave once Jeremy makes the merge?

Then a very selfish and unsympathetic confessional from one of the "brainiacs", Alec...this is Survivor, if you can't hack it, go home. Foreshadowing?

Then the challenge, and Coyopa loses again, Dale had the last words. I did think Jon arriving and giving the nod to Josh was first I thought they would work together, but you may be right, it could mean these two will go head to head?

Keith has a conf about getting back together with Wes, and his back up plan, the idol. Foreshadowing again...

Clearly we see Missy's priority is not Keith...better him than me!

At TC, Jon had the meatiest statement, I thought, and it was right before the vote...
Jon says: It influences my decision, we are coming to the merge, I need to know who is going to be with me, it's about long term who can I trust the most.

Then the vote, and then Dale goes...Missy smiles, then Jon says to Jacklyn: You are so beautiful, then Jiffy concludes: the biggest vote so far and you said it was centered around loyalty, the question is did you make the right decision?

Yes, that will be the question of the season, lol!

I still think Jon is an end game player, but Jeremy and Missy are as well, and I think Keith will be there too. Thanks so much, michel, a great read as always! Clearly, Julie will be toast at the merge, I think. With the preview promo Josh/Reed are gunning for Jeremy, but it's easy to see that Josh will fall short.

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11-07-14, 04:06 PM (EST)
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68. "Question..."
I would love to know if it was Jeremy's plan to have Natalie go to EI with Baylor, or did Natalie think of it on her own? She is the one that is playing her cards right...She's is in a tight couple with Jeremy, who is also a great shield for her, and she is very tied to Missy/Baylor right now too. She is definitely a player...fwiw.

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11-08-14, 00:35 AM (EST)
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69. "RE: Question..."
I really liked your post FP but I didn't see it before this week's episode. For your question, I don't think it could have come from Jeremy. I can't imagine a conversation where that would come up because they didn't know who would be going to Exile Island on the other side. It would be awkward for Jeremy to say: "You should go" and not have Natalie question why HE wouldn't go. It looked like something Natalie decided on the spot.
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11-08-14, 05:22 PM (EST)
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70. "Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
Previously on Survivor; Hunahpu was starving and decided to trade nearly everything for a bag or rice... and no one felt it more than Julie.
Despite losing everything, Hunahpu won the immunity challenge.
We heard Keith saying that they can’t catch a break and we see him spit on the ground.
Back at camp, Dale was in trouble and hoped his fake immunity idol could keep him in the game.
Worried that the idol was real, the majority alliance decided to split the votes between Dale and their ally Keith.
Missy said that she is sad about that but, she adds: “Better Keith than me.”
At Tribal Council, Keith was shocked to get votes but, in the end, it was Dale who was sent home, leaving Keith confused and in the dark.

The relationship between Keith and Missy is proving to be very important and now, for the first time, they are in conflict. The episode will show that Missy won’t be able to control the damage created by this vote so will it be her undoing? Keith has an idol so it’s dangerous to be on his radar. However, this scene could also serve to explain why Keith would not vote for Missy in the end. Some will say that Missy didn’t receive any credit for the vote, Jeff once more talking about the majority’s decision but such an omission isn’t damaging when we are dealing with a low-key winner. Jon is the one that is hurt because he was at the forefront of this decision.
As a footnote, the recap was the first indication that Julie wouldn’t be shamed for quitting. She was already given an excuse for feeling bad.

Follow My Lead

Coyopa – Day 16

The music was very dramatic when the tribe started the day.

Missy in confessional: “Last night, we voted Dale out but there has been so much paranoia and talk of him having an idol that we decided that Baylor and I would write Keith but we were pretty worried about it because no one likes to have their name written down.”

Missy explained the situation to Keith, saying he’d have probably done the same thing if Wes had been on the tribe and there was a threat of an idol. Missy said she didn’t want to see Baylor going home or go home herself. Keith said she could have let him know.

Keith in interview: “When I saw my name come up twice at Tribal, I said: What in the world? Are you kidding me? My name wasn’t in the plan. Did I miss the memo?” Keith asked the tribe what would have happened if Dale had voted for him. They told him that they would have all voted against Dale on the revote. Keith replied: “No more lies. We don’t have to lie. His confessional continued: “It was Missy and Baylor who voted for me and they gave me some lame excuse. I think that I’m somebody who stays loyal but I’m done with you all. I’m going to leave you hanging high and dry.”

Right then we saw a little frog hanging on for dear life. It looked like it was going to fall but it didn’t! Will Keith fail to get rid of Missy as the image suggests? That is a story worth keeping in mind in addition to the much larger conflict that will consume much of this episode.


The music was much lighter when the camera followed a flock of birds that were on their way to Hunahpu. We arrived just in time for us to hear their tree mail message.

Natalie read the instructions telling them that they were about to merge.

Josh gave us an interview: “We got our tree mail which basically said we were merged and it was a mixed emotion feeling at that point because we needed to get rid of Jeremy and we didn’t do it when we had the chance because we’ve not gone to tribal with this whole tribe. So now, it makes it a little more precarious to get Jeremy out but we can do this.”

Talking to Reed, Josh said: “Alec and Wes are totally on board with us and Keith would easily come over so that’s five.”

So much for “Surround and Drown”: I don’t believe that Alec is a good enough player to fool anyone so, if Josh and Reed were convinced that he was with them then they should have thrown the challenge and booted Jeremy when they had the chance. This episode will end in another failure so we have a trend, a theme to this conflict. After missing so many times to get rid of Jeremy, it stands to reason that Josh and Reed will have to pay.

Jeremy had an interview: “In this game, I always say that you have ups and downs, ups and downs and I was down. At Hunahpu, Reed and Josh were in charge and they ran it and I took a back seat and that’s alright; you guys have your fun. But now it’s merge time and when it’s time to vote, I want to crush them.”

This was a very good confessional according to Game Theory: Jeremy knew he had to act like a follower when someone else was in charge but he will soon be on an up and will be looking to reverse the trap on Josh. Everything about the edit tells us that Jeremy will come out on top. The most important hint we have is that Jeremy’s main allies, Natalie and Missy, have been much more visible than Wes, Alec and Reed.

We were back to Coyopa and the howler monkey was taking care of its little one.

Keith read the merge message.

Jaclyn in confessional: “We got tree mail; it said pack your things we are merging. I’m really excited. It’s a big milestone for me and Jon to have made the merge together. We never thought that this would happen. Now, here we are, both going into it, day 16 and it’s the merge. When we get to the other side, we’ll feel it out because we definitely want to keep our options open.”

Jon jokingly said that nobody wants to date someone that doesn’t make it to the merge so he was happy that he and his girlfriend could still date.

I really enjoyed this little wink at Kat!

While the tribe was climbing a hill, we heard Missy saying: “We are almost there.”

I do think that Missy is almost there!

Hunahpu was also on the move and we heard Reed’s confessional: “Coming into the merge, it’s a whole new chapter. We are all coming back together; you’re trying to figure what still stands, what’s dissipated and then there’s this whole Blood versus Water element. You have a natural alliance that’s built in and that is so apparent and then you have people that don’t have their Loved Ones in the game anymore so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”

The first two players that we saw hugging were Missy and Natalie while Jon and Jeremy hugged just as Reed ended his confessional. It will be interesting to see what happens with these two because that will be the key to the tribe’s first vote. As for the seating arrangements, it was very interesting to see that Baylor and Missy were the only pair that didn’t sit next to each other. It was as if they figured it was better to mingle with the others. Missy sat between Wes and Reed while Baylor was next to Jeremy. In this social game, it’s good to talk to everyone if you can do it without making your allies nervous.

Jon had a confessional: “After having absolutely nothing for 16 days, then seeing this giant feast waiting... It was awesome.”

I find it troubling that Jon keeps getting these Stephenie-type confessionals, always showing his craving for food. While Jeff said eating well was a good way to win challenges, he also said that it wasn’t the right thing to do on Survivor. Added to his indecisiveness, I do not believe that Jon is being portrayed as our winner. It seems more like he is getting the fan favorite edit which would be a nice way to end his journey. Like in the previous challenge, he is doing very well but not enough.

Julie had a confessional that set up her exit: “On our previous tribe, we just had one couple and that was Reed and Josh. That was a little annoying seeing them have their lovers’ vaca but now, with the merge, we have multiple Loved Ones together and it’s really tough on me because I miss my boyfriend Jon. I want to separate myself from the group and cry a little bit.”

Had she been voted out, Julie would have been part of the jury, forced to stay in isolation at Loser Lodge for the duration. Now she is free to join Rocker on the all-expense paid “vaca” for the pre-jury players. It looks like that was the plan all along.

Wes had a confessional: “This feast was the number one highlight in the game so far. I mean, everything was great and we got to take out all the food that was left when we head home so we’re going to have a feast tomorrow too.”

It was certainly the highlight for Wes’s character so far. He’s had very few occasions to talk to the audience. Unfortunately, it was only about the food.

It was Keith’s turn to give a confessional: “I’m excited to be playing with Wes. It’s been sixteen days so it was good to see him. I could care less about Missy and Baylor.”

Once more we see him spit. It lacked elegance but it showed his disgust with the mom and daughter team.

Josh gave us his thoughts: “The game is all of a sudden speeding because you are doing so much. You are going through exhaustion, you are going through just mental mind craziness and then, to add on to all that, the elements out here, it’s not easy. Now, we’re merged and it’s a little daunting with so many people and it’s a little scary and it’s a little uncomfortable because this is where you make or break if you’re going to have the numbers for the rest of this game.”

The part of “it’s not easy” was heard while Julie was shown on screen. Josh’s words were being used as another excuse for Julie’s decision. The message was: If even Josh who has a Loved One finds it hard then the audience should forgive her. What’s with the apology for quitters? If they are still watching, Osten and Kelly must be really upset by the pampering that Jeff and the editors give to today’s quitters. Survivor was so much more fun when the players were actually surviving on their own.

It’s more interesting to look at what Josh is revealing about himself in this confessional. Josh feels mentally drained which isn’t the best way to enter into the titanic fight he will have with Jeremy who has repeatedly said he can suck it up. Before this episode is over, we will have many occasions to compare Jeremy and Josh and the Broadway actor will always seem to be one step behind, having to catch up to the firefighter.

When they arrived at camp, Jeremy and Natalie were on screen when she said: “We’re each other’s loved one.”

Jeremy gave us a confessional that was divided in multiple segments, allowing us to see him talk to different people. We heard him say that he needed to keep his numbers while he was talking to Julie. We next saw Jeremy take a walk with Jon who told him they were still good with Missy. Jeremy told Jon that Josh was running everything. Jeremy and Jon agreed they had seven votes, enough to take out Josh. Finally, we saw Jeremy and Missy take a little walk. After Jeremy counted their allies, Missy said they had been good from the beginning and that she was glad to have him back

Jeremy’s confessional: “The merge is a milestone but I think even more than that, this is where the game starts. The first half of the game; those are pre-lims, you know. This is a totally different level of play. We all have to step our games up. The only way I can keep up in this game is if I can keep numbers. So, I have myself, Nat always. Julie, Julie is just our number... so now I need to get two couples: Jon and Jaclyn and Missy and Baylor... As soon as I got here, there were a few people I wanted to talk to but Jon was number one on the list... The first vibe I got from Jon was a good vibe. He has Jaclyn so I said we are good, we are back together, and we are moving forward... Missy’s been with me since day one. I know I have Missy and Missy will bring Baylor. We have seven, that’s all we need.”

I noticed that when Jeremy said that Missy will bring Baylor, it was Keith that was in the foreground while Missy’s daughter was in the back. Missy will certainly try to bring Baylor but will Keith, and his idol, foil that plan? The image could also be telling us that, unbeknownst to Jeremy, Missy will also bring Keith’s anger. Keith’s idol could very well be Jeremy’s downfall.

While Reed asked everyone for their idea for a new tribe name, Josh gave us another interview: “I’ll tell you what: Alliances are crazy right now. There’s a lot of mayhem and a lot of talking going on. I think Jeremy has been talking to everyone. He’s just trying to gather his troops around because he knows it could be the couples. The goal is to make sure that Jeremy doesn’t get the numbers before we get the numbers. If not then I’m screwed.”

Josh said he needed to act before Jeremy got his numbers but, at that moment, Jeremy already had his numbers. Josh was already one step behind. Jon’s 180 will temporarily reverse the balance of power but, editing-wise, it seems that Josh is screwed.

Huyopa – Day 17

The crabs were scurrying along the beach as if symbolizing the scrambling that was about to take place.

Keith made a mark on the rock to show that they were on Day 17 while Josh wished Wes a happy birthday. Keith had forgotten it was his son’s birthday even if the two had been talking all morning.

Some will say that this scene was meant to show that Josh is attentive to his allies’ needs, an essential quality in this game but a simpler explanation was that the editors wanted to have a little fun at Keith’s expense. It does show once again that it takes time for Keith to figure things out.

Keith (solo): “It’s Wesley’s birthday today. As a matter of fact, I woke up this morning and forgot all about it and Josh wished him a happy birthday before I did. I did forget for a minute but no big deal, I finally remembered and wished him a happy birthday and everything’s good.”

Dad tried to make up for his mistake by roasting a crab for his son.

Josh and Reed talked quietly about Jeremy and the great job he was doing.

Josh gave us an interview: “There are four people who are singles and eight people who are couples so I am thinking why don’t we stick together as couples and be able to get down in numbers with the people we love? Right now, my tightest alliance is me and Reed, Alec, Wes and Keith but that’s only five, we need at least seven so I think I can still get Baylor to vote with me because I did save her once and Missy is going to transfer with Baylor to me.”

The confessional told us that Josh was clearly misreading Missy if he thought she would transfer to him that easily.

With Keith and Reed following, Josh and Baylor talked while walking away from the shelter. He asked her if they were still good and Baylor answered that they were... as far as she knew.

Baylor in confessional: “It’s difficult because my mom has a bunch of alliances and I only have one, strong one with Josh and she’s with Jon, Jaclyn, Jeremy and Natalie. So, being aligned with Josh still is really difficult for me right now. Starting off this game, me and Josh, we immediately aligned and he pretty much protected me. That is what’s hard for me is being like: Thank you so much for helping me, now I have to vote you out.”

Josh told Baylor about his plan for the four couples adding: “You don’t want to side with the singles.”

Josh realized that Baylor wasn’t too enthusiastic so he had another confessional: “I chatted to Baylor and I was like: I saved your life and now we are coming over here and you are just going to ignore that completely? Honestly, I was a little hurt.”
Josh told Reed that Baylor was very sketchy and they agreed it was because she was with Missy.

Baylor went to her mom with her dilemma. Missy told her that she would have to be a little bit phoney adding: “He is going to respect you as a player when you blindside him.” In the middle of the confessional that is transcribed below, Missy told Baylor that she would have to do as she is told because she already talked to Jeremy. She added that they had the numbers while Josh didn’t so he was freaking out. “It’s a game. Suck it up. Just smile and say that sounds great, I’ll talk to my mom. Just smile to everybody right now.”

Missy gave us an interview: “Baylor is twenty and sometimes she acts like she’s thirty and sometimes she acts like she’s ten. She has this need to please but she is going to have to figure out how she is going to handle her heart. She does have a sweet heart when it comes down to voting Reed or Josh out... I know she respects me but the difference is that she is coming to me and asking questions and it feels pretty good because it’s like, yes, I made some bad decisions in my life. She’s had to stand by and watch them and I felt pretty crappy about that. No mom is proud of being divorced one, two or three times and especially to have your kid watch you go through it. But it’s like I get to redeem myself here and she is watching it because now she is back to being my kid and she is listening to me. I’m like look: Trust me on this, follow my lead. Get in the backseat and let me drive. We are going to head down this path and we are going to be fine but you got to listen to me.”

This confessional was delivered in almost perfect silence. Except for a few notes here and there, the music editors didn’t want to distract our attention from what Missy was saying. It underlined the importance of what I see as the pivotal moment for Missy. Like the moment when Natalie told us that she would follow Russell to the end and beat him because he ruffled feathers, this was the moment that really made Missy stand out. By her own words, she is redeeming herself for the troubles that her divorces caused Baylor and she is also telling us that she will not play for Baylor but actually get Baylor to play by her rules. The only question one could ask regarding Missy’s chances to win is: Will Baylor listen to her mom or will she rebel? When she was in Coyopa, Baylor said she would play for herself but now that she as reunited with her mother, she has been very obedient. The fake smile that Baylor put on at her mother’s request tells us that she will do as she is told.

Josh realized what was going on. He gave us another confessional: “I feel that the time that Baylor was away from me that she really got under her mom’s influence in diverting her away from myself and Reed. So now I have no other option than Jon and Jaclyn. We have to make a play for these people or we will be out of the numbers.”

Outside of misreading Missy earlier on, Josh has a good read on people and the situations so he is still a dangerous player.

We saw Josh sit down to talk to the Michigan couple. He said: “Reed and I really would love to work with you guys. We feel like getting in bed with Jeremy... I think he is going to be the strongest competitor. He is the one working the most, he is talking to everyone... Who do you think they are going to give the money to? Two Broadway stars who are very successful or the fireman who has two kids?”

Jon and Jaclyn looked pensive but didn’t give Josh an answer.

At the end of Josh’s plea, we saw that Missy had been standing right behind him. Josh was a little startled when Jon noticed her and said hi as she walked by.

Jon in confessional: “Josh approached Jaclyn and I and said that “we would love to work with you.” Once again, we find ourselves in the middle. It seems that Jaclyn and I became a power couple once the tribe swap happened. With two couples, we were kind of in the middle and both of them needed our help so we are being given a lot of opportunities to control our fate.”

If it is fate, then Jon can’t control it, can he? Semantics aside, Jon should realize that being in the middle gives you only one opportunity to decide. You have to decide and make that decision work for you. The others will respect you. Staying in the middle only makes you look indecisive and that makes you lose the jury’s respect quickly. Just ask Ian or Chase.

To Jaclyn, Jon said that Josh and Reed seemed tied on keeping the couples, giving them top six. He added that they could be full of crap because they are Broadway stars.

Jaclyn had an interview: “It’s the same story again for me and Jon. We are for sure in the middle so it’s like which way do me and Jon go? It’s really stressful because one wrong vote could be a million dollar decision.”

Huyopa – Day 18

Jon noticed that the giant bowl of Trail Mix was missing.
Julie had a confessional saying that she took her share of trail mix from the feast and kept it in her bag. She was feeling guilty because everyone else munched on their provisions and they were out.

When Julie went off to sunbathe, the tribe decided to go through all the bags. Jon went to Julie’s bag and came out of it with a handful of trail mix. Everyone agreed that it was insane.

On a funny note, this is another parallel to the Outback where the players went through Kel’s bag to look for beef jerky.

Wes gave us the confessional: “The missing trail mix... We found out that Julie had it in her bag. The smallest girl here... It is one of the most selfish things you can do in Survivor I feel like so a lot of people are pissed off at her for doing that and we are probably going to take it from her bag and eat it all.”

The tribe acted like the vultures we had seen on the beach, taking handfuls from the bag and sharing the candy. Jon could hardly refrain himself: “That selfish little...Ouf!”

Jon (solo): “At home, Ok, you take Trail Mix, no big deal. It’s trail mix so who cares? Here, we don’t have anything to eat. She’s selfish, she’s awful so, if I can’t trust somebody in my alliance who is stealing people’s food. It’s ridiculous.”

Everyone was laughing and looking at Julie when she came back to the shelter. In confessional, she told us that she felt the tension and knew she was in trouble.

The Immunity Challenge

Josh had a confessional: “I am definitely in the most precarious situation I’ve been in this game yet. Without Jon and Jaclyn on board, it’s still not a majority. I think my name will be on the chopping block so I’m just going to go out there and try to win and fight to the end.”

It didn’t take long after the challenge started for the wind to come up and for Jeremy to lose his ball. He was the first out of the challenge. Missy and Julie joined him on the losers’ bench just a bit before the end of the first round.

Reed, Baylor, Alec and Jaclyn were eliminated at the beginning of the second round, Natalie joining them soon after.

Josh, Wes, Keith and Jon were able to make it to the last round where they balanced two balls.

Josh was the first to fall out and that brought a smile to Jeremy’s face. When Jon dropped his balls, it left the father and son duo of firefighters to battle for immunity. This time, the old man won.

While Keith received a hug from Missy, Jon jabbed Wes, saying: “You blew it!”

Keith had a confessional: “It’s crazy: I won immunity. It came down to me and Wesley. I’m not ready to turn over the reins to him. Tonight is critical. We’ll know where everybody stands after tonight’s vote.”

Since we didn’t have a vote can we still say that this was the critical merge episode? We don’t know where everyone stands, but we do have a good idea.

Huyopa – Day 18

The vultures were having their own feast on the beach. They would be circling in the sky throughout this scene.

Jeremy had a confessional: “My first immunity challenge and I’m the first one out. This is ridiculous. I thought I’d kill at these challenges but I’m terrible at these challenges. I was out before an old guy, a mom, and Julie. I was out before Julie! I was out before Julie. But going into Tribal Council tonight, I feel like I’m safe like we have the numbers.”

Jeremy won’t be out of the game before Julie but his words made me think he will be out before the old guy and the mom. His confidence was evident here but it was far from being a sure thing. A little more effort was needed but Jeremy would spend the afternoon relaxing.

When the whole tribe started eating, Alec said: “I sure would love the Trail Mix” and silence fell over the tribe as all the attention went to Julie.

In confessional, she called him out: “I heard Alec’s little punk butt saying something about Trail Mix. I’m definitely angry but I don’t know what I am going to do.”

She had a talk with Missy, telling her it was hard to see everyone with their Loved Ones. Missy told her: “I’m your Loved One.” She asked her to hang in there and not to quit so soon.

Missy in confessional: “She stole food, put it in her bag and didn’t share with anybody. That’s obnoxious but, if Julie goes home, that hurts us. One messed up vote at Tribal could throw this whole plan into the toilet.”

Missy got Julie to agree to stay one more night to carry out the plan.

In confessional, Julie said she understood she was being used, that she wasn’t going to hate them for it because that’s the way the game goes but she had to think of her own needs.

Jon was talking to Jeremy, saying that they were gunning for him even if they were pretending to go after Julie.

Jeremy asked for their reasons to target him.
Jon said it was because they thought he could win all the immunity challenges.
Jeremy laughed at that, saying he sucks at those challenges.

Jeremy (solo): “Josh is the only one in Josh’s alliance that is playing the game. If you take him out, it’s over.”

I wonder why they’d show this if Jeremy is going to get rid of Josh. Well, some will say that the game is indeed over and that Jeremy has it won so maybe that is the intent. Even with Josh gone, Jeremy will have other sources of worry.

Josh also had a confessional: “This is my home turf but I have to give Jeremy propos because he is playing this game and he is actually playing it well. It’s just that it is opposite to what I am doing and so it’s frustrating. We have to get Jaclyn and Jon. It would make sense to go couples together and singles out. Blood versus water, this is what this game is about. Why don’t we get rid of the people who don’t have their Loved Ones anymore?”

The way Josh phrased it was like saying that he wasn’t playing well: Jeremy is playing well which is the opposite of what Josh is doing. It made me chuckle. I was also wondering where Alec fits in Josh’s plan. Could Alec become a problem for him? The thing to note was that, while Josh was scheming, Jeremy was oblivious, taking a swim in the ocean alone.

Wes, Keith, Josh and Reed worked on Jon, telling him that Jeremy was planning to take out the couples. They also pointed out that keeping Loved Ones meant there would be more camaraderie.

Jon in confessional: “After looking at the options, feeling out the people, I found myself making a complete 180 in terms of what alliances I am supporting. (a vulture was seen right then)”

He told Jaclyn that he couldn’t trust Jeremy and had to blindside him tonight. Jaclyn wasn’t sure about going the other way. With more vultures on our screen, Jon said: “I don’t want to jump. It’s just the best thing for our game.” Jaclyn said she felt good about that but Jon said it was going to suck since he really liked Jeremy.

Jon’s confessional resumed: “It looks like we are going on the couples’ train and voting Jeremy out tonight. I’ve preached against jumping ship before because, if you jump ship you are going to be on the bottom of the totem pole but we are a couple so going with Josh, Reed, Alec, Wes and Keith has more long term potential with fewer bumps in the road.”

That’s when people started realizing that Julie was missing. Missy was surprised because Julie had told her she wouldn’t quit.

Julie had gone for a walk and asked to talk to Jeff. Having gone soft over the years, the host listened and even sympathized with her. They mentioned how it could affect her allies in general and Missy in particular. Jeff pointed out that it could cost someone a million dollars. Julie felt guilty but her decision was already made.

Jeff then informed the members of Julie’s alliance that they were down one member. Jeremy had a confessional were he said he could be going home because of that. Josh also had a confessional saying that this put Jeremy in trouble.

Jeff then said that there wouldn’t be a Tribal Council. When he said that someone may have gotten a million dollar break, the camera went to Missy and Jeremy. Josh’s was again heard in confessional, saying that they had missed their chance to eliminate Jeremy. He concluded: “Hopefully, Jeremy is on borrowed time now.”

Jeremy told us he wanted Josh out of the game. His conclusion was that Julie really messed up his plan.

The smoke from the fire symbolized the fogs of war as it spread over both combatants.

The Story

One can wonder if this really was the crucial merge episode because we didn’t have a vote. It really looked more like an hour long promo for next week’s “thrills”. The stage is set: It will come down to Jon and Jaclyn’s decision to go with either Josh or Jeremy. On a lower level, we have another conflict brewing between Missy and Keith. Once the dust settles over the battle of the Titans, I think the conflict between Missy and Keith will be the true deciding factor.

The Characters

The Guys’ alliance

Wes: He had a couple of confessionals but they were only to tell us about the food situation. It looked like a birthday present from the editors. I’d say enjoy it because he won’t be getting much more.

Alec: This “little punk butt” could very well be the next to go. If Jon wants to test Josh, he should put the target on Alec who isn’t with a Loved One anymore. If Josh agrees then the Michigan couple has three more days to weigh heir options. If Josh wants to keep Alec then Jon and Jaclyn should know he is lying to them and they’d vote with Jeremy. Even if Alec stays in the game and his alliance gains the numbers, we are seeing more and more that he is exactly like Drew so he can’t win.

Reed: He was shown scheming with Josh but it was almost always his partner that talked directly to the audience. Either Reed is voted out because Josh will be wearing the immunity necklace or he leaves right after his partner’s elimination.

Josh: He had multiple confessionals, explaining his game play throughout the episode so he could come out on top of the conflict with Jeremy but most of the hints go in the opposite direction. Josh was always one step behind Jeremy and he needed a last minute “Hail Mary” pass completion by Jon to give him a chance. Then the joke was on him when Jeff cancelled Tribal Council. The whole set up of the episode makes sense only if it is to show that three days can make a world of difference. On day 18 Josh was 80% confident he’d come out on top but the odds won’t be the same when they get to Day 21. Probst’s decision to cancel Tribal Council will likely have big repercussions.

Keith: The theme to his story is that he needs some time to figure things out. That even included remembering Wes’ birthday. So, the question is: Did he finally figure out that he needs to get rid of Missy or did he make up his mind too quickly after receiving those two votes? Keith is given a lot of airtime and we see a very fun character, one that can make us laugh. Is that the extent of his story? Will he get rid of Missy or will she hang on to the very end like the little frog? He wants no more lies but we saw that Missy can very easily lie with a phoney smile on her face.

The Couple in the Middle

Jaclyn: She is becoming the voice of reason in the couple. Maybe it helps that they usually go to Jon first, giving her time to think things through which doesn’t seem to be her boyfriend’s strong suit. I don’t see how Jaclyn would ever feel comfortable in an alliance with Wes, Alec and Josh so this is another reason why I see this whole episode as a smoke screen.

Jon: Jon’s story is being reduced to his hunger and his indecision. He is right to say that they are in the middle and that flipping isn’t a good idea because it puts them at the bottom of the totem pole so I wonder why he made that 180 degree turn before consulting Jaclyn. We didn’t see him talk to Missy either so we have to wander if it was simply cut out to make us think that Jeremy was really in trouble. I don’t see Jon as a contender anymore after this episode.

The Women's alliance

Natalie: If this was the crucial merge episode then Natalie’s fans had to be disappointed by her absence from the story. She was only one of Jeremy’s numbers and we didn’t hear from her at all. Like Reed, she will be the next to go if her strong ally is voted out. If Jeremy wins the battle, she will be nothing more than his honorary Loved One.

Baylor: Forced into the back seat by her mom, one could think that Baylor rebels but everything we have seen about her tells us that she will follow her mother’s lead.

Jeremy: This alliance could also be considered as Jeremy's but I thought that calling it the women's alliance would reflect a bit more how this season has developed and the difference between Josh and Jeremy: Josh refused to be considered one of the girls but Jeremy used his good rapport with women to create solid bonds.

With the episode built around his conflict with Josh and the misdirection pointing to his fall, we should feel good about Jeremy's chances to win the game. However, we still see his overconfidence and his lack of attention to details, going off for a swim when the vote was still being discussed. While I think that Jeremy will get Josh, I think he will be blind to the trouble from within his alliance. Like Keith, he'll probably be surprised by Missy’s lies.

Missy: This episode finally gave us her signature confessional, the one where she related her real life experience to her game and how she will get Baylor to follow her lead instead of just looking out to protect her kid. Missy wasn’t only Julie’s Island “Loved One,” everyone in her alliance likes and trusts her. When she told Baylor how to handle the questions and how she needs to separate her heart from the game, Missy also showed us that she wasn’t like Dawn or Lisa, a nice woman that cannot put her emotions aside.

Missy is also aware of what is going on, eavesdropping on the conversation between Josh, Jon and Jaclyn. Maybe Jon will want to make the big move but Jaclyn should keep him in line and, in the end, he should vote with his “island Mother”. Missy lost Keith however and that could turn out to be her last obstacle but I think she will come out on top there also. Even without the all important vote after the merger, I see Missy as our Sole Survivor.

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Outsider32 200 desperate attention whore postings
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11-09-14, 00:59 AM (EST)
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71. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
Jaclyn's boot is building up to me. I feel her and Jon's wishywashiness is going to catch up to them and Jon's edit may indeed show he's going to challenge dog(I can't say the other word) his way to the end. Too much swing vote stuff going on with them and something big will happen. I think Probst said he couldn't predict how this season would turn out meaning there will be no pagonging. Keith's "worst thing in survivor" could indeed be what is usually the worst thing in the show that can cancel your chances of winning-flipping.
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11-09-14, 12:04 PM (EST)
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72. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
LAST EDITED ON 11-09-14 AT 01:40 PM (EST)

Michel, great read as always, but I am not so sure. I certainly respect your opinion at these things, so your take this week gives me great pause. But, as Veruca used to say, the editing can be interpreted differently by each of us, and your take may not exactly match up with mine. I am still not ready to call a winner, but things are indeed unfolding.

First of all, I wanted to comment on the episode before the merge when they arrived at TC and there was a nod to Josh from Jon....made me feel that they would work together in the future. And, with the last episode, Jon did decide to side with least for the time being. So, it was foreshadowing. I would suspect after the next episode, however, that it will be them going head to head...

The intro: Hunahpu was starving, traded everything for a bag of rice and nobody felt it more than Julie...but despite losing everything, Hun won the IC. Then we hear Keith, “we can’t catch a break, it is frustrating”...then the spit....This start to the introduction summed up the gist of the last episode. Jeremy, in the last episode, is the one that told us, the brainiacs made a horrible decision and it would cost them ~ meaning ME ~ would cost them a number, Julie.

At Coyopa:
Dale was in trouble and hoped his fake II would get him through, see him making the offer to give Jon his idol if he is not voted out tonight, “Dude”, says Jon....The majority alliance decided to split the vote between Dale and Keith...Missy in conf: I’m sad about that, but, better Keith than me. In the end, Keith was shocked to get votes but was glad Dale went home, leaving Keith confused and in the dark(See Keith put his head down and shake his head, and he’s right there next to Missy)...12 left.

First of all in the recap, no one got the credit for orchestration of the Dale boot, nor did anyone get chastised for believing Dale had a real idol. So, Missy was not given credit for making the tough decisions...this omission, I thought, was not a good sign. The "majority alliance" got the credit, and that was better for Jon, imo. BUT, Missy was shown as alienating Keith. Clearly, Keith will not be siding with Missy come the merge, he'll eagerly go to Josh and company. And, I have a feeling it could cause trouble for Jeremy, and may bite Julie and Baylor later...fwiw. (Counterpoint to michel’s theory is that you could possibly write this off as doubt cast on Missy for winning.

As we see Keith with the fire, and ominous, serious, confrontational music is playing....leading up to: Missy gets the confessional about writing Keith's name last night, she knew it wouldn't sit pretty...Keith was pissed and he let them know it, Missy talks to him about her rationale, and his response is: You could have let me know.... Interesting to note that Missy and Baylor were defensive of their actions, while Jaclyn is lying there playing with her fingernails, clearly not seen as a culprit... Keith told us he was done with them, he needs somebody that stays loyal, and he will leave them "high and dry". So, we all know where Keith stands! I loved the animal imagery with the little frog hanging high and dry....we will have to pay attention where this little frog turns up again in the show, if at all. I took the frog, hanging by one finger, as a bad sign for Missy....she'll be left high and dry by the others, or at least by Keith...

Moving to Camp Hanahpu, we hear upbeat, up tempo, lively, flute based music playing....Then we have Natalie reading treemail at Hunahpu, OMG, and we get Josh's confessional about how they didn't get a chance to vote Jeremy out, but they can still do this. He and Reed go off and take inventory...them, Alec, Wes, and he'll bring Keith...

Then the confessional from Jeremy: Saying while Reed and Josh were together, he took a backseat and let them run things. He was fine with that, but now it's merge time and I want to crush them! I still cannot discount Jeremy as having a winning edit either. He clearly has a snarky, over-confident, and arrogant way about him, but look who he is playing with. The other smart player, apparently Kelly, was indeed with Jeremy. He’s playing the game and his assessments and actions are laser focused. Clearly, he will be a target, and getting in bed with all the girls could indeed bite him in the end, when he doesn’t win a crucial immunity...time will tell.

So, with news of the merge the line is drawn in the sand, when we get confessionals from 2 power players Josh and Jeremy. In contrast, at Coyopa, Baylor lets them know the merge is here, and it's Jacklyn that get the confessional...she's excited for her and Jon they made it together, we are definitely keeping our options open...they go to the merge site...

We then hear a confessional from Reed: Merge is a whole new chapter, don't know what it will bring, blood vs water element, and there are people that don't have their relatives anymore, don't know?

Jon got the first confessional with the merge: It was about how much food there was, and he was jubilant, "It's awesome!" I agree, Jon is cast as a frivolous player at times, but in a season of B. v W. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing? I do see him as kind of dumb and see how he could be dismissed as a winner, but will he be dismissed by the current players, until it’s too late? We know he’s competitive, and having a young couple in love really hits home the close bonds that loved ones represents. So, I am not ready to count this underdog out....underdog edit, perhaps?

Julie gives us a critical confessional at this point: On our previous tribe we had one couple, reed and josh, now that we have merged it's tough on me because I am missing my BF John, I want to cry... {rant}I do not know how Survivor has taken such a 180 degree turn on their stance on quitters, but, as someone that would have loved to have the opportunity to get on this show, it SUCKS. Quit giving them more rice, AND, quit being nice to quitters! UGH. {/rant}

We then get a train of confessionals: Wes says something about the feast being the merge highlight, as we see Julie dump the trail mix bowl into her bag, then Keith has a conf: He could care less about Missy and Baylor. The whole episode underlines this, that Keith is no longer with Missy and Baylor...this is important, I agree...Keith could be the one that takes out one of the pair...
Josh conf: the game is speeding, you are going through exhaustion, mind craziness, and the elements, now we are merged it's daunting, so many people, this will make or break it... if you will have the numbers for the rest of this game. After hearing Josh have this meaty confessional, we actually see Jeremy getting after it...he’s a man of action...Note that he “starts” with his number one, Natalie. We see him with Natalie, but we don’t hear him confirm things with her, while we “hear” him confirm with the rest of his allies. I am beginning to think that Natalie is the dog that didn’t bark, and that is so funny to me, knowing how VOCAL she and her sister were in the Amazing Race!
...see Jeremy and Nat...Natalie’s actions speak louder than words, perhaps.

Jeremy confessional: The merge is a milestone, but this is where the game starts, the first part was prelim, this is where the game starts....
Then we see he and Julie talking and Julie tells him that these days are tough to see everyone with their loved ones, what ever you are feeling, know I am feeling the same thing.
Jeremy continues on in conf: the only way I can continue on in this game is with numbers; I have myself, Nat, Julie is a number, now I need to get two couples, Jon/Jacklyn, missy/Baylor. Then we see Jon and Jeremy walking together and Jeremy is working him...Jeremy tells us that the number one person he wanted to talk to first was Jon, and Jeremy asks him how he's doing...Jon tells him that he and Missy are still good, and they talk about their numbers...Jeremy, Nat, Julie, Missy/Baylor and he and Jacklyn....Jeremy continues: the first vibe I got from Jon was a good vibe, we are back together, we are good *Then we see a mother possom, carrying her babies on her back....representing Jeremy, getting all the peeps he needs moving forward together...

We see that Jeremy is the one that is covering all his bases and getting his numbers set. Next he goes to Missy...and Missy confirms the numbers: I am so glad to have you back, we are good....we have 7 we are good! *Just wanted to point out it’s Jon that speaks for Jaclyn and Missy that speaks for Baylor.

Then we hear Josh's observations and counter: Josh: (see Jeremy talking to everyone), I tell you what, alliances are crazy right now, there is a lot of mayhem and a lot of talking right now...Jeremy is gathering every one, his troops, because he knows, it could be the couples... the goal is to get the numbers before he gets the numbers because if not, we are screwed.

Next we have a visual of tons of crabs scurrying all over the tidal beach...representing the scurrying going on at Huyopa...Josh wishes Wes a Happy Birthday to Wes before Keith, and Keith has a conf about it...he forgot at first, but he did wish him a Happy Birthday, here on the beach! Yes, I agree, Keith needs time to figure it out, but in the end he roasted the crab for Wes, and it’s also a nod to the socially aware, Josh.

Josh and Reed are seen and they are giving props to Jeremy, because they see him playing...Josh conf: 4 singles, the rest couples, why don't the couples stick together and take out the others? Right now I have me and reed, alec, wes and keith, we need 7, I think I can still get Baylor to vote with me, because i did save her once, and then Missy will transfer with her to me... Obviously, this is his plan "A"...

WE see him then go to Baylor and basically strike out...Josh has a conf about how upset he is that he saved her twice, and Baylor has a conf about thanks for saving me but now I have to vote you out....Reed consoles him, she's doing this because she's with her mom now.

Baylor tells us: Mom had a bunch of alliances, but she only had one strong one, with Josh. She's (Missy) with Jon, Jacklyn, Jeremy and Natalie but being aligned with Josh still is really difficult right now.

Josh came up to me and said are we good?, and Bay said, as far as I know...he said Reed and I have your back...I am going to have to have a talk with my mom...Bay says she wants him to respect her and Missy says he will respect you when you blindside him..Missy tells him she has to be a little bit phony. Clearly, Missy is the calculating one with her eye on the prize, while Baylor is the emotional player whose heart is getting in the way of her game play.

Missy continues in conf: Baylor is 20, sometimes she acts 30, sometimes she acts 10. She has a need to please, but she's going to have to handle her heart, when it comes down to voting Reed or Josh out...See Missy tell have to do what I said, because I already told Jeremy, we have the numbers, Josh doesn't, he's freaking out, this is a game. You have to suck it up, just smile to everybody ...just tell him, yeah, ok, I will go and ask my mom...

The confessional continues: The difference is that she is coming to me and asking...I have made some bad decisions in my life, been married 1, 2, 3 times and she has had to watch them. I felt crappy about have your kid watch you go through it, but here, she's coming to me, I get to redeem myself here. She's watching me, trust me on this, get in the back seat and let me drive, trust me and let me drive.

When Missy had that meaty confessional I did indeed hear soft, pleasant, nice, journey player - type music playing, especially toward the end of the confessional. Could Missy be our journey player? It definitely crossed my mind. The mom that gets to redeem herself to her daughter, to take charge and be in the drivers seat for a while, let her daughter relax, because Momma Missy has her back for a change? Sure sounded like it to me...Survivor is providing her the chance for redemption to her daughter...

Cut to Josh with a confessional about Baylor is now with her mom, so we need Jon and Jaclyn, then see him go to them...Josh tells them getting in bed with Jeremy, he's the strongest guy out here...who do you think they will give the money too, broadway guys or a fireman with 2 kids...Josh: that's my plea to you...Then, we see Missy come up, Jon says, Hi Missy....funny! Missy sees them talking and interjects herself, a heavy presence and warning perhaps to Jon?

Jon conf: Josh approached Jack and I, once again we find ourselves in the middle, between 2 couples, we were in a power position...
Jon and Jack go off...Jon continues in conf: once again we are given a lot of opportunities to control our fate.
once again we are hit over the head with Jon and Jaclyn being in the middle, the power couple, in the position to control their fate. We get this from Jiffy as well regarding this a season full of decisions, will you choose the right course. So, I can’t help but feel that Jon is integral to this story, will his choices be the right ones in the end?
Jaclyn: this is huge
Jon continues: Josh and Reed tied to keeping couples which would get us to top 6...but, they make it tough, they are broadway stars...
Jaclyn: again we are in the middle, this is like a big decision
Jaclyn: one wrong vote could be a million dollar decision

Once again, Jon and Jacklyn are edited to be the true power couple...go with Jeremy or go with Josh? Whoever they choose will be the dominant group and will most likely contain the winner among them.

Then we had the Julie and trail mix scandal. Jon was the one that went and looked in her bag and had a conf: at home who cares, but here, we don't have any thing to eat...if I can't trust somebody in my alliance...ridiculous, she's selfish...

The first mention that he can't trust someone in the alliance that he is holding closest to...Jeremy’s.

Then a conf from Julie about how you could cut the tension with a knife, and now, things don't look too good for her...

Josh has a conf just prior to the IC, about how he is in trouble and really needs the IC win...

Then we have the IC, Jiffy explains the rules, and we have this verbiage:
Jeremy is out first, that's how quickly it can happen. Keep your concentration, this round will last 10 minutes...see clouds moving in, Missy is out, Julie is out,
Next round: farthest away now...Reed is out, Baylor is out, Alec is next, Jacklyn is out, down to five, gust of wind, Natalie is out, down to 4, josh, wes, keith, and Jon.
25 minutes done, final part of the challenge is adding another ball.
Next round: 4 starters...Josh, wes, keith, Jon...2 balls on their disc...Josh is out, see Jeremy chuckle...Jon is out, father and son, keith and Wes is out, Keith WINS!

Keith gets a conf: Keith conf: It's crazy, I won immunity! It came down to me and Wes. I am not ready to hand the reigns over to him yet, tonight is critical....we'll know exactly where everybody stands after tonights vote.

They arrive back to camp, and we see the birds eating the dead carrion on the beach, which is Julie getting eaten alive. Jeremy is first and he has a conf about how he sucked at the challenge and he thought he would be so good at them...he was the first one out, before a mom, an old guy, and even Julie beat him! Then he has the confessional in the "death spot"...after the IC he says, but going to the TC, tonight, I feel like I am safe, I have the numbers..

I am thinking, WHOA, I didn't see this coming right now!

Next we have conf's from Julie about hearing Alec say something snarky, and missing her loved one, then we see Julie chat with Missy... I am feeling lost and confused.
Missy says do you feel done? Do you feel like toast? Julie says she doesn't know what to do everyone has their loved ones, and missy tells her I am your loved one...she says she needs her space...
Missy in conf: she stole some food put it in her bag, and if she goes home it would really screw up the plan, she should stick it out one more day,
Missy continues to Julie: we need you
Julie in Conf: I get it... she needs me because they need me to get farther, I can make a decision right now based on what I need.

*Here is an example of Missy failing. Her influence on others is not perfect...will her influence on her alliance mates control her destiny, or like Julie, will they choose their own path?

See Jon and Jeremy: Jon is telling Jeremy that Josh says that you will be hard to beat,
Jeremy: Jeremy tells him I was out first..Jeremy in conf: Josh is the only one in Josh's alliance that is playing the game, if you take him out, it's over
Josh in conf: This is my home turf. I am playing the game, but I have to give Jeremy props, he is playing the game and playing it well. It's opposite to what I am doing so it is frustrating, we have to get Jacklyn and Jon. It would make sense to keep couples together and singles out.

We see Jeremy stripping down to go for a swim...see Jeremy swimming in the water alone, Josh continues in conf: why don't we get rid of people that don't have a loved one anymore? This could be a nod to Jeremy....he will end up swimming alone at the end too? Or not?

Then we see Josh, Keith, and Wes all talking to Jon...Keith: If we don't stick together he will come after everyone of us...pull the trigger on him first...And Jeremy is big on taking out the couples...having your loved one with you, makes it more camaraderie.

Next, Jon has a very meaty confessional: Talking to people, he is finding himself making a complete 180...looks like we are jumping on the couples train and voting Jeremy out tonight, it's going to suck, because I really like Jeremy...I don't want to ,but it's the best for my game, going to suck, but we gotta do this, I have preached against jumping ship, because if you jump you will be on the bottom of the totem pole, but we are a couple, so going with Josh, Reed, Alex, Wes and Keith has more long term potential with fewer bumps in the road...nice music playing when he had his confessional...the music underlined the importance to this confessional, imo. The ability to size up the situation and take your best option for you at the time, may be how Jon wins....IF he wins. Being adaptable, making the right decision to get you to the end, no matter how difficult could be the strategy. Jon showed us here that he can make the tough choices and go against the people who are relying on him, namely Jeremy and Missy. Will he do it again, in the end? Jiffy told us that he could not have predicted the winner this season...really still makes me think that Jon is still in the running for winner...?

Then you see Jon and Jaclyn walking away holding hands and there is a symbol that is heard as they go...which makes this an important confessional.

Then we cut to the shelter area where someone asks, where's Julie...we hear Alec say she heard me hating on her, somebody had to say it. I really think Alec is such a tool. Boy, if he wasn't good at challenges, or didn't have the potential to be good at challenges, he'd be a perfect goat.

Then we have Julie and Jiffy scene, she goes. Then Jiffy tells the tribe and Jeremy has the first conf: she was my number, I needed that, I could be going home tonight, then Missy has a conf next...sad, she talked to her last.
Then Josh: it's a complicated game, you don't want them to quit if you are in an alliance with them, on the other hand, my odds just got better...
Josh in conf: Julie quit and that puts Jeremy with one less, and our odds just got better, puts Jeremy and that alliance at unease because they have one less member.
Then Jeremy tells Jiffy: I'm pissed, keep her warm, give her food...
Alex adds: she does nothing...she dug herself in a hole.
Jaclyn adds: she stole food and kept it to herself, it makes people mad.
Jon: she was so scared of living up to the fact, oh yeah, I am a selfish person.

All the nasty confessionals regarding the players and their feelings for Julie with her quit, may be CBS underlining their disdain for quitters in a subtle way...

No TC tonight, then 2 confessionals...
Josh: I do feel with Julie's exit, it was not on our side because we wanted to get Jeremy out right then, but he's on borrowed time right now, I feel like it was 80 percent it would have been him tonight...he thought it was me or Reed tonight.J
Jeremy: Julie messed it up, because I am upset because she really messed up my plans...

This episode was somewhat of a shocker to me as I really saw Jeremy's alliance advancing in the game, along with Jon and Jaclyn. But, with the previews, we can clearly see, thanks to the editing thread, that the power couple, Jon and Jaclyn, will most likely swing back to Jeremy and company.

For next week, just on the editing alone, my gut says that Josh wins immunity and Alec goes home. It will either be Alec or Josh. Alec, Wes, Josh, and Reed are in big trouble, Keith has an idol, and Kelly told us that Missy most likely knows...I agree, Missy has a whole new opponent in Keith....has she met her match?

I thought Missy had a journey player-like edit with her confessional about being divorced 3 times and now she gets to be the mom and drive the car, telling Baylor, you just relax, and count on me for a change.

I think Jon and Jaclyn being adaptable to changing situations may serve them well.

Jeremy now has 2 formidable opponents...Keith and Josh. Secondarily, Wes and Reed. Jeremy is a great shield, not only for Natalie, but will be for Jon/Jaclyn too, if they do decide to go with him. Missy and Baylor are making enemies all by themselves right now...Josh and Keith as well.

So, I still see the ones that are most out of the limelight as Jon and Jaclyn. I don't see anyone talking about opposing either of them right now, everyone is still trying to woo them...On a side note, Natalie is flying under the radar in a beautiful way as well.

I thought Keith had a stellar episode this time. He is playing this game and he’s more observant of the people around him than it may appear. He won immunity...he's not ready to hand the reigns over to anyone, just yet? He is figuring it out. Missy and Baylor have crossed a line with him, and he’s called Jeremy out as the biggest threat, “to come after each one of us”! He has an idol in his pocket, and has been edited to keep it to himself. He did alot of the persuading to get Jon on board...He’s discounted by everyone.

I believe that Jon and Jeremy are still our strongest contenders for the winner, but I think that Keith, Missy, and Natalie cannot be dismissed either.

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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11-09-14, 03:22 PM (EST)
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73. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
Really enjoyed reading your thoughts FP and, yes, it certainly can be interpreted in different ways. Missy isn't the popular choice right now but I'll try to answer your reservations:

You wrote:
"So, Missy was not given credit for making the tough decisions...this omission, I thought, was not a good sign"

Missy isn't edited as an upfront strategist but as the mom that takes care of her daughter. Since she would be a surprise winner, then I don,t expect her to get credit for the votes. It's critical for a Tony or a Tom to get credit but not for a Sandra or a Danni.

"Survivor is providing her the chance for redemption to her daughter..."

That is one of the main reasons why I think she wins. Her story arc is about redemption since it started with jeff telling us that baylor had to be the mother. Now, we see that Baylor is playing scared but her mom knows what is going on and how to act. We know that missy made bad decisions in real life so she can't have a redemption story if she makes a bad move in this game. To redeem herself, Missy HAS to make the right decisions.

"*Here is an example of Missy failing. Her influence on others is not perfect...will her influence on her alliance mates control her destiny, or like Julie, will they choose their own path?"

This was Julie's failure, not Missy's. It's simply another hurdle on her path to the end.

Keith had a great episode as you wrote but it told me that he is in for a negative turn. His story was to take a few days to figure things out yet, when he saw those two votes against him, he reacted just like Lex and his gut: He spit on his alliance with Missy. I really think he will regret it. Also, Keith was shown to be a neglectful father, forgetting his son's birthday. That funny little scene could be very symbolic.

We'll see how it goes. Besides Missy, I give Jeremy the best shot to win now because Jon's indecision has been too clearly shown.

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11-09-14, 04:23 PM (EST)
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74. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
Great counter points, michel! You could be right on the money!

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11-10-14, 10:11 PM (EST)
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75. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
LAST EDITED ON 11-10-14 AT 10:17 PM (EST)

I'm a little confused by Missy's edit too. Like most people, I consider her a strong contender. But from seeing this episode, I'm really starting to wonder if she's going to get the villain edit post-merge.

I don't think the interaction between her and Baylor portrayed either of them in a particularly good light. Baylor, of course, comes off as the wishy-washy daughter. However, the way Missy strong-arms her daughter and tells Baylor to deflect to her makes me wonder if Missy really respects Baylor at all. It definitely established her as a strategic player, but it left an icky taste in my mouth. It made Missy look a little evil stepmother-ish. It's all subjective, of course, but I can't think of another winner where I really had such an "Ew" moment regarding their personality.

And Julie seeing right through her plea also made Missy look like a snake. I feel like they could have easily edited out Julie's realization or spun it in a different manner. They needed to show the Julie/Missy convo, but they could have thrown Julie a little more under the bus for just being stupid and ditching her loving allies.

I don't think any of these things necessarily mean Missy can't win because she's obviously one of the top 3 or 4 contenders. But I think the tone of the next episode is going to dictate where the rest of Missy's edit is going to go. If the editors soften her edit, she's probably the winner. If they don't, it might mean she's the foil for the Jeremy/Jon/Josh winner.

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11-12-14, 08:13 PM (EST)
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76. "RE: Episode 7 - Follow My Lead:"
Thank you for the feedback, Jims, I appreciate it.

As for a winner's EW moment, I think Brian had a few particularly when he joked around with Clay about the women doing women's work. Then Fabio pissed in the challenge pool. Then there was Aras who treated Bruce like a child.

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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11-15-14, 05:44 PM (EST)
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77. "Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
After Blood and Water merged, Jeff reminded us that there were two battling alliances; one led by Jeremy, the other alliance led by Josh.
Both were fighting for Jon and Jaclyn (who were shown strolling on the beach, as if without a care in the world)
We heard Jon saying that they were in the middle for the 3rd time and he talked with Jaclyn about the importance of the decision.
It was Josh that convinced them to join his alliance and blindside Jeremy.
Fortunately for Jeremy, Julie made a shocking decision... throwing a wrench in Josh’s plan to take out Jeremy and leaving the game up in the air.
Quite ironically, we heard Josh say that Jeremy was on borrowed time and didn’t realize it.

This was quite a straightforward recap but it did drive the point that Jeremy was saved by Julie’s quit. Jeff could have easily spun a little uncertainty in the outcome. Anyone saying that Jeremy will be our victor has to explain this choice of editing line. The editors would be willingly opening their victor to harsh criticism, everyone saying that Jeremy won only by luck. Does the same apply to everyone in Jeremy’s alliance? Many players have won even if their leader and most of their alliance got wiped out so I don’t think we can transfer Jeremy’s luck directly to them.

On the other hand, Keith’s supporters must have been encouraged to hear Josh say that they would give the money to the fireman. Jeremy isn’t the only fireman in that cast. Unfortunately, this episode would show that only one fireman is worthy of the title and it’s not a member of the Nale family.

I don’t think it was good to show Jon and Jaclyn strolling on the beach when Jeff underlined their critical situation. It made it look as if they didn’t care about the game, only about being together.

There is one thing that was brought up in this recap that wasn’t answered in this episode: Is Jeremy living on borrowed times? We will have to look closely at the scenes if we want to offer an answer.

A Bunch of Pigs

Huyopa – Day 19

The tribe was sitting next to the fire when we heard Missy say: “I am so pissed that Julie quit that way. I woke up going: Are you serious? You don’t quit.”

Missy had the first confessional of the evening: “Because Julie quit, we didn’t have to go to Tribal and it really threw a wrinkle in the plan I think for everybody. My alliance has their plan: Vote Josh out. We were ready to go but we can’t do that until we get to a Tribal.”

I’m sure this confessional is going to be interpreted in different ways. Some will say that it’s bad for Missy’s future that she was so out of the loop that she was still talking of the plan to eliminate Josh as if it was going to work. Others will say that it doesn’t matter since the plan did work in the end. For me, I will say that the important thing is that Missy was given airtime. She got to tell us how Julie’s departure affected them. Winners often get the first confessional of the evening, especially when the outcome of the previous episode had repercussions on their own game.

Jon asked Jaclyn if they were playing the game or just being deceitful by promising different things to different people.

That comment was underlined by a very noticeable rattle, the sure sign that we just heard something dumb. Jaclyn’s facial expression left no doubt about what she thought of Jon’s qualms. This is Survivor, she seemed to be saying. This is another indication that Jaclyn is the smarter player in this couple.

Jon gave an interview: “We didn’t have a Tribal last night so nobody knows exactly where Jaclyn and I stand right now. They think I’m solid on that side, I’m solid on that side, but the fact is we decided on taking out Jeremy. Jeremy is going to be going home very, very soon. Originally, we told him that we were down with voting out Josh so I don’t think that he has any clue whatsoever that Jaclyn and I have flipped but ultimately, I have to decide what my best path is and my best path right now does not include Jeremy.”

While we heard Jon’s confessional, we had images of a worry free Jeremy, simply sitting next to the shelter.

I found it interesting that Jon kept using the words “right now” considering that he switches his mind every time someone new talks to him. According to Jon, his best path doesn’t include Jeremy but they will be travelling together for a little while longer at least. Does that mean that Jon took a bad path? We can also wonder where Missy fit in his plans since we only heard him say he was going after Jeremy. Was he thinking that he could boot Jeremy but stay with Missy? As for Jeremy, I found it troubling that he was shown completely relaxed when Jon was talking of booting him. It made me think that, despite the irony of Josh’s recap confessional and the outcome of this episode, Jeremy is living on borrowed times. Both big rivals could be proven wrong before long.

The Reward Challenge

It was played in teams and Jeff mentioned a school yard pick. Unfortunately, for those of us that enjoy seeing the picks being made just as much as we enjoy seeing a coconut chop style challenge, the editors didn’t include the formation of the teams. We simply saw that team Yellow had Reed, Jeremy, Keith, Wes and Natalie while team Blue had Baylor, Jaclyn, Jon, Josh and Alec. Missy wasn’t picked by either team and had no shot at the reward.

The press images gave us a hint that Reed and Baylor were the team captains so let’s see if we can figure out the picking order. Jon had to be the first overall pick so that means Baylor held the first draft choice. That would mean Reed picked Jeremy, the next strongest man with his first pick. Baylor’s next two picks would have been Alec and Josh leaving Reed to counter with Wes and Keith. That would mean that Jaclyn was the first woman picked followed by Natalie. If it did go that way then the players went for strength before allies or Loved Ones. Or maybe Reed and Josh talked about it before and decided to stay apart to have ears on both sides. That would be very smart but we didn’t hear about it since these two players won’t matter in the end.

If an Ice tea maker was thinking of sponsoring Survivor, the players didn’t help CBS sell the advertising: They were all Ooooh! and Aaaaah! at the mention of beer and margaritas but when Jeff mentioned Ice tea it was more like “You can have mine.”

The team with 4 men got an early lead and never relinquished it. The only interesting comment that I picked up came from Natalie who said: “Guys, I’m going to run up, Ok?” She did climb up the temple and Reed, Jeremy, Wes, Natalie and Keith won reward.

When those five had to choose one person to go to Exile Island, we heard Keith say: “I’d feel bad about sending Missy.” Natalie asked: “Who hasn’t gone?” Someone replied: “Jon and Alec.”

Keith spoke for the group: “We are going to send Jon.” Asked to explain the decision, Keith said that Jon was a big guy and Wes added that he could make it on his own.

That was a particularly strange choice considering that everyone was courting Jon for his vote. Jon certainly didn’t flip back to Jeremy’s side because Keith and Wes sent him to Exile Island but it would have been wiser to keep him happy. Like Cirie in Micronesia, he should have been carried around on a chariot-type thing instead of sent in Exile. Sending Alec away and letting Jon in camp to talk with Josh would have certainly been a better decision.

After the commercial break, we followed the victors to a Taco bar that was set up on the beach just a few yards away from the challenge area. Everyone went for the margaritas and they toasted to the “W”.

Reed had an interview: “We won the reward which was amazing... What was so strange is that we have a really eclectic mix of people from two different alliances together that don’t have anything to talk about necessarily and we’re all just trying to keep things calm and kind of keep that homeostasis.”

If Reed was the team captain then he is partly responsible for this strange group that offered no openings for tactical talks. If anything, he should have picked Missy (or encouraged the one making the pick if it wasn’t him) instead of Natalie in order to separate the mom from her daughter.

Reed and Wes mentioned that Josh had been looking for this kind of reward.

To the group, Natalie asked if they should be talking about strategy like other people do during rewards. Jeremy laughed at that.

Natalie in confessional: “There is no real alliance between anybody here. It’s kind of Jeremy and me on one side and Reed, Wes and Keith on the other. You know, if we had Missy or Jon over here, we would be strategizing the entire time.”
Keith then spoke up: “I don’t know about you all but, last night, Julie was kind of my pick and then she quits. If they had said Julie is gone but you are still going, Man! I had no idea.”
Wes agreed: “If he had said we were going to Tribal, I would have been screwed.”

Jeremy in confessional: “Keith comes up and said: If we had to vote somebody out yesterday, I don’t know what we would have done, like we were all up in the air. He’s telling me this and I’m looking at him like come on: I know you guys were targeting me. Get out of here. It tells me that Keith is at least trying to play the game but I don’t think he is very good at it.”

Either Jeremy is right and Keith isn’t very good at this game or Keith really didn’t know what was going on. Both options aren’t good for those that think Keith can win. It won’t be the only time that Keith’s character takes a hit in this episode.

Not listening to his father’s advice, Wes ordered a pile of extra food with extra toppings and alcohol.

Wes in interview: “My dad said, slow down and enjoy it. Of course I didn’t at all... I wish I had the will power to control myself. It was all fun and games until I felt like crap.”

Keith had an interview: “Wes is a good kid. He hasn’t been in jail yet but he does make some mistakes. I can only give him some words of wisdom, that’s all I can do.”

Wisdom? From Keith? Poor Wes! I cracked up when I heard Keith’s definition of a good kid is one that avoids jail time! All kidding aside, Keith is wise in his own way but I doubt it will be enough to help Wes who, as a survivor player goes, hasn’t shown us anything. The funny thing is that Jeremy didn’t look much better than Wes! It’s good for Jeremy that the editors didn’t linger on his present condition. Some will say that we were shown both Tom and Brian when they had a little too much to drink and that it served to flesh them out but, here, the context is totally different. First, mentalities have changed and being drunk isn’t as acceptable today as it was just a few years ago. The context of this season is also different because the rice incident told us that overindulging isn’t a good way to play this game.

Huyopa – Day 19

After preparing some snails for lunch, Josh had a confessional: “Needless to say, we lost...It could not have gone better as far as the people I needed to be talking to. And the people I needed to be bonding with. I’m going to put my feelers out there one more time with Baylor today and try to get the target off my back.”

Taking a walk away from the shelter, Josh told Baylor: “I think you owe me at least one to not vote me out... I feel I stuck my neck out for you a couple of times.”

Baylor’s interview: “It was uncomfortable when Josh came up to me and said that you owe me. I almost feel like I am being blackmailed a little bit. To me, Josh doesn’t seem like a guy who comes from a Christian family...I thought you should give a gift without expecting anything in return so I feel like I don’t owe him anything.”

This sounded a lot like hollow rationalization and saying that Josh’s actions constituted blackmail was simply wrong. Baylor simply had to tell us that she didn’t trust Josh and that she had chosen a different course of actions and the viewers would have accepted it. Thinking this way tells us that Baylor still cannot own her game. She has to revile Josh, turn him into a villain, in order to justify her actions. That won’t work on a juror. Of course, this is another example that tells us that Baylor will have to defend her actions in the end. She is turning into a very interesting goat, isn’t she?

She told Josh that she heard others say that he was dragging her along just to use her as a vote.

Josh in confessional: “I was trying to secure her and Missy’s vote for the couples just to get us a couple more numbers, but Missy is kind of controlling Baylor right now and I don’t think they are going to vote with the couples so, at this point, I am pretty fed up with Baylor.”

Next, Josh talked to Jaclyn about Baylor: “I told her, here is the deal Baylor: I did save you. It would be great if you just gave me one vote at one point.”

Jaclyn replied: “Well, then it wouldn’t matter anyways because me and Jon aren’t voting you.”

Josh’s confessional continued: “I am really hoping that Jon and Jaclyn are being truthful. But all I can do right now is hope that they are and keep that relationship going.”

Some viewers will point to this conversation and say that Jaclyn wasn’t fair to Josh when she said no one talked to her. I will point out that she said no one campaigned for her vote and Josh was engaging more in gossip than in strategic talks. After seeing that Baylor was a dead end, Josh should have been offering a Final Four pact to Jaclyn but he evidently wasn’t ready to go that far. Anyway, we can also ask when this conversation actually took place. By placing it here, it lets the viewers think that nothing had changed, that Jeremy was still on his way out but what if Jaclyn was only humoring Josh? Was she being phony? This conversation could have actually happened after Jaclyn had talked to the other women and vowed not to vote with the guys. If this exchange had been shown after the immunity challenge, after Jaclyn had told Jon that she wasn’t voting with the guys, then it would have told the viewers that Jaclyn had a good poker face but placed here, it doesn’t have that effect.

Exile Island Day 19

Jon: “Exile Island is extremely desolate and being out here by myself sucks. I miss Jaclyn... she has obviously been helping me make all the decisions. With me away, it gives Jaclyn a chance to build those relationships up so she is not seen a simply the tag-along.” He reaches the urn and reads the clue: “It’s a clue to a new idol that is here on Exile instead of back at our camp.”
Being at low-tide, Jon went directly to the rock sticking out of Exile Island. His search started with the sound of a bass drum being hit 3 times. The music grew in intensity and tension as he searched the ground around the big rock. Finally, he climbed it and saw a small stone that was covering a hole. The joyous music and his laughter told us right away that he had found it.
Jon: “Found me an immunity idol. She is a beauty. That’s a game-changer. It’s exciting to have that power in the game because now, whatever I want to happen is really going to happen.”

It’s funny that, on the first vote after Jon said he’d get his way, he failed! His idol certainly didn’t help him convince Jaclyn to ride with the boys. However, I don’t think this was the intent of this scene. The dramatic music told us that this idol will play a big role in the game and it’s possible that Jon will get his way when he uses it. For now, it’s interesting to note that the two players holding idols are targeting Jeremy. The fireman’s supporters will say that it creates doubts about his chances so that it’s good for him but I think we are being shown that Jeremy is really living on borrowed times. There is something missing in Jeremy’s story when it comes to the idol. We never saw him looking for one despite the clue he received and we never heard him wonder if someone could have found it. This tells me that he could very well fall victim to one of these idols. We heard inside information that he actually did look for the first idol but the edited story is that he is oblivious to the idols so it could cost him the game.

Huyopa – Day 21

The reward winners were back in camp and Wes was complaining, saying that it hadn’t been worth it. He talked about puking, Alec talked about burping and farting and Keith kept spitting.

That led to a confessional by Jeremy: “Wes, Alec and Keith; they are just rude. They are not even trying to hide it and they are laughing about it. As firefighters, we act like that at the firehouse sometimes... but as soon as a woman comes in the room, you shut it down. Everyone is on their best behavior because that’s how you act around women. But these guys, they are the first ones to eat; they jump in front of the girls. I’m like: What are you doing? Have some manners.”

In the middle of this confessional we heard Missy telling Jeremy that he and Jon were the only gentlemen there. “The rest of them, they are a bunch of pigs.”

After the confessional, we saw Alec handing trash to Baylor, telling her to throw it out to sea. She said he was making her feel like a slave but she did while Jaclyn and Missy observed the scene.

Baylor in confessional: “Alec treats me like I am his baby sister who he wants to bug and that has been the case since day one. I am kind of over it.” Missy told Baylor that Alec was like that to all the women. Baylor’s confessional continued: “My mom says just let it go. Unfortunately, I get bugged easily.”

It was Keith’s turn to order Baylor around, telling her she had to get some wood. Jaclyn saw this also. Keith went on: “It’s hard to get good help. If you had been my kid, you would have got whooped 7 times today.”

Missy in confessional: “It’s the most chauvinistic group of men I’ve ever met and I’ve seen rude people before but these guys are the worst.”

This scene practically ends Keith’s chances to win because he is associated too closely to the frat boys. He will continue to be an interesting character, one of the few that can make us (and Jeff) laugh but he isn’t very good at this game. Still, I can’t rule him out completely as our winner which is great.

Alec then turned to Jaclyn, Natalie and Baylor and said: “Girls, keep the fire going.” He added: “I know Natalie will but I don’t know if they will.”

Jaclyn asked the other women: “Shouldn’t they be trying to be nice to me? They need my vote and what I really want, Jon will do.”

Jaclyn’s remark really amused Natalie and Baylor and it made me wonder if, after this episode, the jurors will start to see Jon as the tag-along?

Jaclyn in confessional: “The guys in this tribe are really arrogant and rude. I already knew that but, after Jon left, Oh! My gosh! I saw such a difference in the way they treated me. I was like: Screw you guys. Without me and Jon’s vote, you don’t have anything.”

Jaclyn told Baylor and Natalie that she wasn’t voting with them.

Outside of camp, Keith and Alec were talking about the need to get rid of Jeremy. Keith said he wanted to touch base with Jaclyn but Alec said she was good, that she was voting with Jon. Keith argued that she had been talking to Baylor. Alec was confident that Jon was riding with the boys.

Alec’s interview: “I feel as comfortable as I probably could right now because Jon is a smart dude. He knows that Jeremy is a threat and he trusts me and that’s big and I know that Jaclyn is going to do whatever Jon says. So, this alliance is sticking together and, as long as Jeremy doesn’t win immunity, we are going to vote him out.”

Alec may feel comfortable but the camera showed us that an alligator was lurking while he was shown to be close to the ocean. I’d say that he should be a bit more careful. At this stage of the episode I felt as if Alec could actually become the consensus vote. If Josh had felt the wind changing, he could have easily offered up Alec and still kept his numbers for the next vote. Unfortunately, Alec will continue to stink up the island.

The Immunity Challenge

Jon was eliminated on the second symbol of the first round. Jeff said it was an indication of spending two days on Exile Island but I say it’s because Jeff didn’t show them menu items. I’m sure Jon would have been able to memorize any menu.

For some bizarre reason, Reed, a guy who should be able to memorize lines in a play, showed a temple, an image that wasn’t even part of the list. He went out right after Jon.

(Maybe the first round had more than 4 items or Reed threw the competition.)

Wes and Alec both missed the 4th item on the list. I certainly can understand that.

The next list had 7 icons (Stephen’s magic number!) Natalie missed on the list’s first icon and Baylor followed her to the losers’ bench on the next one. Jaclyn missed the third so we were down to 4. The 5th icon got both Keith and Missy, leaving Josh and Jeremy to battle it out. Someone whispered: “Come on Josh” and it seemed to be Jon who had turned to Jaclyn.

Jeremy won the challenge on the next icon. His reaction was very mild, just a small fist pump and he hugged Josh. That was the mark of a true competitor.

Huyopa - Day 21

Arriving back in camp, everyone congratulated Jeremy. Then Jaclyn hugged Jon and he said to her ear: “I have the idol.”

Jeremy in confessionals: “I won the immunity challenge today and it’s a beautiful thing. I know that Josh and his goons were coming after me so it’s huge. I’m pretty sure that our alliance is all set with voting for Josh. The two of us have been battling each other for control of the game but now it’s all about Jon and Jaclyn and I’m hoping they are on my side because, if they’re not, I’m going to have to continue winning this beautiful thing in order for me to stay alive.”

Talking with Reed, Wes and Alec, Josh put the new target on Baylor. Alec agreed saying that Keith wanted to see Baylor go.
Josh (solo): “Right now, the plan is to vote for Baylor tonight. I tried to get Baylor on my side but she didn’t go for it. So, she’s got to go. Right now, we are relying on Jon and Jaclyn to be on my side because if not, today is my last day out here.”

If everything depended on Jon and Jaclyn maybe Josh should have considered asking their opinion. He could even have sacrificed Alec if it would have gotten him those two precious votes. The guys were acting as if Keith’s vote was the most valuable one to secure. It was a really dumb move by Josh to impose his personal agenda at such a critical stage. He should have been thinking of getting on Jon and Jaclyn’s side instead of trying to drag them to his.

The camera focused on another image of a vulture feeding on some carrion and then we saw Jon and Jaclyn taking a walk towards the ocean. Jon wanted to know how things went while he was gone.

Jaclyn answered: “I don’t like the guys anymore, at all.” She told him that she didn’t want to vote with them because the guys don’t talk to her when he isn’t there. She added that they would be harder to beat in immunity challenges. Jaclyn said it would be easier to beat Natalie, Missy and Baylor. Jon objected that they wouldn’t beat Jeremy in the Final 3.

Jon gave us an interview: “Coming back from Exile, I had initially thought that Jaclyn and I were going to be aligning with Josh and the guys, but then Jaclyn brought along some interesting information: While I was gone, the guys were completely ignoring her the whole time and made her feel like crap. (Alec was the one the camera showed at that moment) I mean, this is the love of my life talking however, this is a game and you can’t be acting just on emotions.”

After this, we saw Reed join them in the ocean and told them that the plan was to vote Baylor. He added: “Everyone wants Baylor out because she is annoying.” Jon agreed so Reed left.

Jaclyn in confessional: “Jon and I have to decide which way to go. I thought that Jon would have my back but he is worried of teaming up with Jeremy because his story would win over our story in the final 3. So, Jon’s thinking really far ahead which is stupid but now, I feel that there is this all up in the air with everything.”

Talking to Jeremy, Natalie and Missy, Keith asked whose turn was it to go. Missy asked him if he was voting with the guys.
Keith said no but he added: “I hate to be blunt but Baylor don’t do ___...What gets me is we ask Baylor to do something and she says she is too tired and you (pointing to Missy) jump in and say “I’ll do it.” That fires my @ss.” Missy countered: “But you protect your son too.” Keith disagreed.

Missy gave a confessional: “I’ve been through this gunning for Baylor for a while now and I got my ear bent already today by Keith (imitating his voice): “Baylor don’t do anything”. It doesn’t feel good ever to have your child picked on but I am going to back her, she knows I love her and that’s all that matters.”

Missy told Baylor that Keith pointed the target at her. Baylor couldn’t believe he told her mom that. Missy said he did, adding: “He’s not very smart.” Missy realized she needed to talk to Jon.

Baylor in confessional: “I just found out that Keith spit out my name to my mom which is stupid. You don’t tell the mom that you are voting for the daughter, period. But now, I am obviously on the chopping block. I have sickening butterflies in my stomach so I just have to be prepared and hope my alliance pulls through.”

We saw Missy walking along the beach with Jon, telling him that they had to stick with the plan to vote out Josh. Jon simply said “Cool.”

It has to be noted that Missy made the same mistake as Josh by telling Jon how to vote instead of asking him for his preference. The difference and I think it’s a big one, was that Josh had already been discussed by the group while Baylor was a new target.

Jon in confessional: “Tonight, Jaclyn and I have to make a really big decision and the success we’ve had so far has been the result of Jaclyn and I working together very well but this time, Jaclyn is not on the same page as I am.”

In the shelter, Jon told Jaclyn, Josh, Reed and Alec that “they are voting Josh.” Alec replied that they were in control of the game and could get Baylor out.

Looking back to the shelter, Jeremy told Natalie and Missy that he didn’t trust Jon.

We heard another portion of Jaclyn’s previous interview: “I don’t want to have anything to do with those guys but it feels like Jon just doesn’t care.” She was seen telling Jon that she felt comfortable with Missy and Jeremy before her confessional resumed: “After tonight, there is going to be a good portion of people mad at us no matter which way we go. It’s hard because you have to weigh so many different things and we are still going back and forth. Hopefully, we will figure it out but, no matter what happens, somebody is not going to be happy.”

Tribal Council

Asked about winning immunity, Jeremy told Jeff that he knew people would have written his name down if he didn’t have immunity.
Josh said he felt the same pressure as Jeremy.
Asked if the alliances were known, Wes said they were and he mentioned that Reed, Josh, Alec and he had teamed up with his dad and that the others knew they were tight.
Jeremy told Jeff that he could be in with Natalie, Missy, Baylor, Jon and Jaclyn. He wasn’t sure though.
Jeff asked Jaclyn where she and Jon were in terms of alliances.
Jaclyn said: “Well, Jon and me, we have been approached by both sides so that puts us in the middle which is interesting.”
Jeff was surprised that Jon and Jaclyn had been so often in the middle.
Jon said that they weren’t looking to be in that position but that they must have a sign that tells people to come to them.

We heard a thunder strike while Jon was trying to joke about the situation. Besides Jaclyn and Missy, no one was laughing.

Asked about the situation, Natalie said she felt protective over the original Hunahpus and that Jon was someone they felt they could trust from the beginning. Jeremy and Missy nodded in agreement. Natalie brought up the point that the guys act in camp as if they don’t need Jaclyn.
Jaclyn jumped in saying that it was SO frustrating. She added: “Everyone goes to Jon and when he went to Exile, nobody bothered to campaign with me. The second he got back, it was all about Jon. Me and Jon, we talk, we make decisions together.”

As soon as Jaclyn expressed her frustration, the camera went to Josh who frowned, probably realizing exactly how and why he had failed. Alec and Reed looked stunned when Jaclyn said that she was part of the decision process. Their shock made me think that they hadn’t even considered the possibility that she could think for herself.

Jaclyn then told Jeff that a few people didn’t respect her.
Missy told Jeff she could clear this up for him: “I am watching a couple of these younger guys pretend like they are in a frat house.” Jeff figured she was talking about Wes and Alec. “You got it” answered Missy: “They literally belch, fart, and spit. They don’t care if there are females there or not.”
Keith intervened: “But we’re not at the Hilton, Missy... I haven’t heard Wesley fart lately but I have a little bit of gas and I’m sure everybody on this panel has had gas. It’s just a normal body function. This is Survivor and stuff like that’s going to happen.”
Everyone, including Jeff, laughed at that!
Asked about the perception, Reed said he had been very respectful of the women out here. He wanted to counter Natalie’s pitch to Jon by saying: “If you side with a group of singles what is to say that they don’t turn right around on you and vote you guys out?”
Jeremy interrupted him, saying: “So you guys aren’t going to turn around and get him out because Jon is the biggest threat.”
Reed said: “Absolutely not.”
Shaking his head, Jeremy simply said: “Alright.”
Asked if he would prefer not to be in this position, Jon said that it was a positive for now but these decisions were game changers and that could be scary.

His voice was partially covered again by the rolling thunder when he said that. It seemed to be telling us that Jon has reason to be scared.

For good measure, Keith turned around and spit on the floor before Jeff sent them to vote.
We saw Alec voting for Baylor saying that she couldn’t hang out with the big boys. Baylor’s vote was the only other one revealed and she explained: “You are a strong player but I stopped trusting you the first tribal when you wrote my name down and didn’t tell me.”
By a vote of 6 to 5, Josh became the first member of the jury.
Jeff sent them back to camp after asking: “Is this a line in the sand or is tomorrow a whole new game.”

The Story

The frat house behavior was strongly underlined in this episode. We saw how the guys acted stupidly during the reward and in camp. Male chauvinism even crept in the strategic discussions when we heard Alec say that Jon was riding with them so they didn’t need to touch base with Jaclyn. This is certainly not the Hilton like Keith said and Josh wasn’t directly responsible for this behavior but it still does fit in a story where the women come out on top to show these guys that they cannot be taken for granted.

The Characters

Three Different Pigs: (Ha ha, charade you are)

Wes: Before Tribal Council, Wes was just a dumb kid but he wasn’t bad like his father said. Then, with one answer to Jeff, we saw that he is a bad player. “The alliances are known” he said. “Reed, Josh, Alec and myself have aligned with dad and the others know that we are tight.” He may as well have told Jon and Jaclyn that they were getting 6th and 7th place by going with them. Alec’s inclusion in the alliance completely undermined Reed’s plea that the couples had to stick together. It didn’t make much a difference for Jon and Jaclyn who already knew that but, to the older viewers, it had to remind them of Jerri’s dumb remark during the Outback’s 3rd TC.

Alec: Isn’t he just like the other Christy brother? He was totally shocked when Jaclyn said she makes the decisions with Jon. If I were him, I’d be careful of alligators... and voters! It can’t be too long now before his exit.

Keith: He was right when he said that they weren’t at the Hilton so that leaves him a small opening to the victory despite his rough exterior. He does have moments of wisdom but I see him mostly as the “Dumb Player” that is used to make the audience laugh. Jeremy said that he isn’t very good at it and we have to agree with Baylor that it wasn’t smart to tell the mom that you are voting the daughter. Still, that honesty tells us two things: He still hasn’t ruled out playing with Missy and people will not worry that he is lying to them. Keith is an honest man, maybe too honest for this game unless that turns out to be the message of the season. Could Jon’s qualms be the theme of the season and the road to Keith’s victory? Are they were playing the game or just being deceitful by promising different things to different people. If they are just being deceitful then there is a chance for the honest man. Would a jury reward an honest man or punish the dumb man? I think it would be suicide to let Keith anywhere near the end game because the jury would give the money to the fireman. By the way, does he have two kids?!

The Desperate Man

Reed: Can he have a future now that his partner is gone? Obviously not since Josh dominated their story. He won’t go down without a fight but his antics could very well speed up his exit.

The Gentlemen:

Jeremy: His edit is almost perfect for a winner and we saw that he is a true competitor when he didn’t showboat after his crucial immunity win. Can he win after he was so definitely saved by Julie’s quit? It could be said that it wasn’t luck, he saved himself by winning immunity but then we never saw him talk to Jon or Jaclyn to rally their votes. He wasn’t credited at all for the turn around so that is even more inauspicious for him. It’s doesn’t get better when we consider that he seems oblivious to the idols. I do believe that Jeremy is living on borrowed times. Jon had to express his worries about Jeremy to Missy before agreeing to eliminate Josh but we certainly didn’t hear their whole conversation. What if Missy promised him to target Jeremy as soon as the pigs have been slaughtered? We know that Jeremy doesn’t trust Jon and he has good reason to be worried but he doesn’t know that Jon has an idol and maybe more votes on his side.

Jon: Jaclyn said it was stupid that Jon was thinking as far ahead as the Final 3 but for us, it gave him a hook into the end game. Jon is worried that Jeremy would beat him in the Final 3 but it seems that he is forgetting that he could lose it even if Jeremy isn’t there. By staying in the middle for so long, Jon has made a lot of people angry at him. Jaclyn’s firm stance during Tribal Council also told the other players that she influences his decisions and may even be the smarter one of the pair. That will be tough to defend to a jury of players that put their trust in him. He said that his best path didn’t include Jeremy and, while we will never know how it would have turned out if he stayed with Josh, it’s very possible that he will be proven right. The rolling thunder that accompanied his interventions during Tribal Council tells us that he has the “Survivor Gods” against him!

The Women:

Jaclyn: She is a smart woman and she chose her preferred path but will it pay out in the end? If she had received the same exposure in the first few episodes as she has shown since the swap, then Jaclyn would be our front runner for the title of Sole Survivor. However, there were too many missed opportunities to portray her as a lovable underdog when she was the target of the alliance led by Rocker. Instead, the editors turned one of her TC remarks to show her as someone that almost killed the plan to get rid of the ex-pitcher. In this episode, she could have been portrayed like an even better player if her talk with Josh had been shown after the Immunity challenge. Showing it during the segment where Jon was on Exile Island made it look like she was simply going along and then acted only on emotions. When Jaclyn said it would be easier to beat Natalie, Missy and Baylor, it made me think that she could very well be wrong and lose to that trio in one of the last Tribal Councils.

Natalie: She is turning into one of the best players this season but we still hardly see her on our screen. Her intervention during tribal council was the catalyst for the vote: It enabled Jaclyn to express her frustration with the guys and it told Jon that he was still a trusted member of the original Hunahpu. That was a great argument and must have solidified the vote. She has too few confessionals and no real end game connections. Her portrayal tells us that she won’t make it in the end. What would a juror ask her right now? They wouldn’t care that she volunteered to go to Exile Island so that leaves her with very little else to discuss.

Baylor: We had another example that the cheerleader can’t own up to her game. Josh wasn’t blackmailing her; he was simply saying he had saved her so she owed him. Considering that she gets bugged easily, the jury should have a lot of fun grilling her. I envision an epic meltdown.

Missy: She expressed the audience’s thoughts about quitters and then she worked diligently to change Jon’s mind. I think we’ve had two interesting development in this episode that point us even more to a win by Missy. First, even Jaclyn seemed to have abandoned hope to rally Jon because she told us he didn’t have her back. Josh didn’t need Jaclyn’s vote because Baylor would have been eliminated if Jon had voted against her. It was only after talking to Missy that Jon changed his mind. Next, we saw firsthand how playing like mama bear can get Missy to the end. By protecting her kid, Missy advanced her own game tremendously. Did we really need to hear Keith telling Jeremy, Natalie and Missy that the group was voting against Baylor? We really didn’t because Jon’s vote would have been needed even if they didn’t know who the target was in Jeremy’s alliance. It wasn’t necessary to show that Missy had to protect her kid against such a direct threat yet the promotion department played up the scene by giving us this tease before the episode aired: “The claws are out when two parents protect their children in a heated exchange”. There was certainly more hype in that promotion than the argument deserved. The promotion department is starting to make their winner’s case. Of course, like the reference to the jury giving money to the fireman, some will argue that this is making Keith’s case instead of Missy’s, but his story is certainly not centered on protecting his child.

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Callandor 1 desperate attention whore postings
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11-18-14, 03:01 PM (EST)
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78. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
LAST EDITED ON 11-18-14 AT 03:14 PM (EST)

LAST EDITED ON 11-18-14 AT 03:11 PM (EST)

Thanks Michel. Some interesting insights.

Some brief thoughts:

I feel that Jaclyn's (clearly spliced and edited) comment "Jon and I have to decide which way to go........ Jon’s thinking really far ahead which is stupid but now, I feel that there is this all up in the air with everything.” is key to understanding this season.

In my opinion it summarized the two styles of play - one being the long-term, inflexible "stick to the plan" approach and one being the "day to day....don't think too far ahead but take your opportunities as they present themselves" approach. I believe that the editors are telling us that the latter is the style of play that will win this season.

So in looking to identify our winner, flexibility and the ability to adapt the plan to changing circumstances (even on a daily basis) will be key.

I certainly think that Missy could be our winner. She is one of my top two contenders. But if I am to assume that making situational decisions well and frequently is key to winning this game, then there are two people who stand out as contenders, our "power couple" "swing votes" Jon and Jaclyn.

And as Jon has already been called out by his girlfriend as stupid this leaves Jaclyn strongly positioned to be named our Sole Survivor.

One caveat. Jaclyn has made more than one reference to Baylor playing both sides. I initially assumed that Baylor would end up betraying her, which could still end up being the case. However, another interpretation could be that ironically the girl that Jaclyn didn't trust ends up facing her in the Final Tribal Council.

You have also made the very valid comment that Jaclyn's underexposure in the first three episodes, despite going to Tribal Council each time, counts against her. However, what if the editors are doing something similar to what they did with Tina Wesson's edit in the second season of Survivor - the "dog that didn't bark" edit that was completely the opposite of Richard Hatch. Tony was such an in-your-face dominant personality and was edited accordingly from the start. Perhaps the winner of Survivor San Juan del Sur will be hidden from the start and slowly be revealed over the course of the season. A question?

I wait for the next episode with interest.

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11-18-14, 05:59 PM (EST)
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81. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
Welcome aboard, Callandor and thank you very much.

I like your point of view but I will point out a few problems for Jaclyn's case: Jon told us she was playing too emotionally so that's not very good for someone who wants to analyze the situation carefully day by day. Also Jiffy told us a long time ago that he didn't like the idea of hiding Tina in the first episode so I doubt he'd use that type of edit now that he is in charge. Granted, Natalie was almost completely ignored for the first three episodes of Samoa but she had to go up against the show's biggest camera hog ever in Hantz.

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11-18-14, 03:07 PM (EST)
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79. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
Enjoyed your take on the episode Michel, I may not comment every time but I love this thread and read it every week!

Or maybe Reed and Josh talked about it before and decided to stay apart to have ears on both sides. That would be very smart but we didn’t hear about it since these two players won’t matter in the end.

Josh confirmed this in his interview on Survivor Live with Jeff Schroeder. And you're right, it didn't matter.

If anything, he should have picked Missy (or encouraged the one making the pick if it wasn’t him) instead of Natalie in order to separate the mom from her daughter.

He said in his interview that he knew Baylor was a lost cause early on, I believe the phrase he used to illustrate this was something about Missy getting her claws into Baylor. At some point he decided that what he did would make no difference, again it just didn't matter by then.

I did enjoy Josh's interview much more then the other bootee's, he did know the game and apparently it placed a nice target on him.

I can only give him some words of wisdom, that’s all I can do.”

And that's all Keith can do. Game over for him. I don't think he can give anyone words of wisdom including himself. That HII may save him at some point but wisdom won't do it.

I do find that comparing Missy and Keith as parents puts Missy in a much better light. Missy is telling Baylor as well as making sure she follows up on her advice. Keith tells Wes what to do and that's all the effort he puts into it. Wes is coming off as a boob while Baylor's edit is much more positive and by association Missy's is as well.

Keith's "Everyone has gas!" comment. I'm sure the way to sway a lady is to even imply that she has gas. Not a good move Keith.

to the older viewers, it had to remind them of Jerri’s dumb remark during the Outback’s 3rd TC.

Who are you calling old? >snort< What did Jerri say and how the heck do you remember that? You're a little scary Michel, you know that?

I should be watched....closely.

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11-18-14, 05:51 PM (EST)
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80. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
Thank you for the information from Josh's interview.

Jerri told Jiffy Probe that her friends on the tribe were Amber, Mitchell and Colby. That left out Maralyn who was about to be voted out, Tina and Keith. In the next episode, Tina turned the table on Jerri and got Mitchell voted out.

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11-18-14, 09:03 PM (EST)
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82. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
In the intro, But, it was Josh that convinced them to blindside Jeremy....fortunately for Jeremy, Julie made a shocking decision to quit the game....someone just got a million dollar break...11 left. I looked at that as very positive for Jeremy....he got a MILLION DOLLAR break....but it presents the new conflict for this episode, will he or won’t he get another?

While we know that Jon is telling Jeremy that he is with him, we know that he is not...Nobody knows where we stand right now, this move is a big move, Jeremy is a leader of the pack. Jaclyn has a counterpoint pointing out that Josh is the leader of the pack too. Then Jon continued, Jeremy is going to go home very, very soon, he has no clue that Jack and I flipped. I need to figure out what my best path is, and my best path does NOT include Jeremy. Jon makes his thoughts clear, that Jeremy is not a part of his plan.

I looked at this confessional in a positive light. Shows that Jon is playing the game, I felt that he posed the question more to Jaclyn, are they playing or just choosing to be deceitful...clearly it could have been a light bulb moment....YES, we ARE playing the game. Here is what michel thought...I found it interesting that Jon kept using the words “right now” considering that he switches his mind every time someone new talks to him.

YOu make a sound point, but when you think about what Jiffy knows regarding the winner and his statement, The best players will prove themselves through their ability to play this game not based on history, but on what is in front of them in any given moment.

To me, this is what Jon keeps hitting us over the head with each and every week. That they have to carefully consider everything and choose the best path not based on previous association but instead on what presents at the moment.

Michel asks, We can also wonder where Missy fit in his plans since we only heard him say he was going after Jeremy. Was he thinking that he could boot Jeremy but stay with Missy?

I also have to wonder where Missy and Jon fit in together. To me, it almost as if he’s playing more with Missy, who is not seen or heard as much, than he is with Jaclyn. I cannot help but think that Missy and Jon see eye to eye in regard to Jeremy, but I don’t know?

Michel continued: As for Jeremy, I found it troubling that he was shown completely relaxed when Jon was talking of booting him. It made me think that, despite the irony of Josh’s recap confessional and the outcome of this episode, Jeremy is living on borrowed times. Both big rivals could be proven wrong before long.

I agree, I feel as though Jeremy is living on borrowed time. Will it be sooner rather than later, or no?

Then we cut to the reward challenge and Yellow team wins. Josh in Survivor Live spilled how they were picked. He said that he and Josh said earlier if it was a team vs. team reward challenge, he and Reed planned to be on opposite sides. Reed and Baylor were the captains. Reed first chose Jeremy, Baylor first chose Josh, then on Reed’s team the order went, Wes, then Keith, then Natalie, and Baylor’s side went first to Josh, then Jon, then Alec, then Jaclyn.

The winners choose Jon to go to EI, because they worry that Missy couldn’t handle it, funny how they dismiss her, they may kick themselves for this later...can’t dismiss anyone at there at this point! They choose Jon instead. He blows a kiss to Jaclyn on the way out.

Cut to the winners at the taco bar, fun with Keith and Wes. Jeremy challenges Keith statement in conf that they wouldn’t have known who to vote for...let’s us know that Jeremy knows exactly where he stands with them. Then we cut to Jon on EI.

Jon finds the idol, and I thought this was a curious statement regarding the find...she is a beauty, that's a game changer, exciting to have this, because whatever I want to happen in the game, will happen. Is this foreshadowing a straight path to the end, or is this arrogance setting up a nice blindside? Time will tell. I do love that you think this idol will play a role in Jon’s game however! Regarding Jeremy, it was Julie that told us she would stand guard while Natalie and Jeremy looked for it....and not only with his clue, but with the clue Natalie got from Baylor when they were both on....

Then we have the gross guys at camp, and a nice confessional from Jeremy recognizing their immature behavior...but still he calls them out as “pigs”....Jeremy talks down about everyone he seems to play with, and I don’t think the winner would be quite that blatant?

Then we have the Baylor and Alec trash scene, and Momma Missy’s advice, to let it go....then Keith’s badgering her to go get some firewood along with the comment if she were his kid she would alread have been whooped 7 times. And, he tells this to Missy.

Next is a confessional from Jaclyn about how they should be nice to her if they want her vote....this is a bad sign for me with Jaclyn. She’s playing emotionally...she should see that any one of these “pigs” could indeed be a nice little goat for her in the end...but, it’s all about her. Then she tells Nat and Bay....Jon can vote with them, but I am not....she’s throwing Jon under the tells me that she is being open with Baylor and Missy, and telling them that indeed they are being approached by the other side as well, and that Jon is considering going with the “pigs”....of course Jeremy should be wary of Jon...I think Jaclyn is not the smarter of the two, and especially in TC...fwiw.

Alec then has the confessional that he is sure that Jon is with them...Jon is riding with the boys, he trusts me.... Clearly Alec is looking more and more like an endgame goat...or, at least someone has got to recognize him as such? He really is clueless on how to play his game, imo.

Jiffy had a comment regarding Jon, the first one out of the IC....something about the effects of being isolated on EI for 2 days...I thought it was wise for Jon to get out early, and it did cross my mind that he may have thrown takes him off the radar. Josh and Jeremy, the two who needed it most were indeed the last two at the end...Jiffy had to love that. Jeremy won, and Josh was sunken. Interesting that right before Josh and Jeremy were left, it was Missy and Keith at the end....if you get rid of the big dogs, Josh and Jeremy, will it be Missy and Keith battling to the end? It crossed my mind.

When they returned back to the beach, Jon gave us a confessional that let us know about the change in Jaclyn’s plans....I thought he was very articulate in the confessional and he assessed things as I did, that Jaclyn is playing emotionally...I mean, this is the love of my life talking however, this is a game and you can’t be acting just on emotions.

Then later after Reed approached them and told them the new target was Baylor, Jaclyn had a confessional about having to decide which way to go and that she thought Jon would have her ended with So, Jon’s thinking really far ahead which is stupid but now, I feel that there is this all up in the air with everything.”

How ironic for Jaclyn if it indeed pans out, or will Jaclyn be proved right?

Before TC there was some doubt as to which way Jon would vote....he implied to the guys that he was with them voting Baylor, then we see Jeremy not trusting Jon, then we have Jaclyn’s confessional about how Jon doesn’t seem to care, but she is more comfortable with Missy and Jeremy, in the end there are people that will be mad and somebody’s not going to be happy...Cut to TC...

During TC is was outed that Jon and Jaclyn were the couple in the middle again, for me, it was almost as if Jaclyn were whining that everybody goes to Jon, and what about me...Jon went to exile and nobody came to me...blah, blah....she strikes me as a very dumb player. She outs way too much at TC for me...

Then the final part of TC...

Jeremy interrupted him, saying: “So you guys aren’t going to turn around and get him out because Jon is the biggest threat.”
Reed said: “Absolutely not.”
Shaking his head, Jeremy simply said: “Alright.”
Asked if he would prefer not to be in this position, Jon said that it was a positive for now but these decisions were game changers and that could be scary.

Jeremy calling out Reed and company that they would then proceed to get Jon out as the biggest threat....I can’t help but think Jeremy just verbalized his intentions to the entire TC...I think it’s a good thing that I think Missy and Jon are closer than Missy and Jeremy...

I think Jon is far more eloquent in his statements in confessionals and at TC...just my perception, I guess.

When Baylor voted for Josh and called him out for the first TC, I knew that would come back to bite him...going full circle.

Regarding the thunder claps...are the survivor gods against him, or is what he is saying significant to this story? While Jon does appear goofy and happy go lucky, I am not ready to dismiss him in the end game, as some of the other players seem to be. I also feel good that Missy will be there too, and perhaps Keith. But, at this point the goat will probably be Baylor. Right now, I am paying more and more attention to Natalie. I wouldn’t be surprised if a women won this season, but can she win with all the “chauvanist pigs” on the jury? I sure could see them calling for a man to’s crossed my mind that if there is one man in it at the end, will they win because he’s a man? So many things to consider...thanks Michel! Loved hearing it, as always!

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11-18-14, 10:11 PM (EST)
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83. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
LAST EDITED ON 11-19-14 AT 07:40 PM (EST)

Great to read what you have to say, FP.

I heard that Josh said Baylor went first and picked Jon. Reed went with Jeremy, Bay picked Josh, Reed went for Wes, Bay picked Alec, Reed went for Natalie leaving Baylor to take Jac and keeping Keith for last.

I heard Keith say that he'd feel bad sending Missy to Exile and took it to mean he,d feel that way because she didn't play in the challenge, not that she couldn't handle it.

"Interesting that right before Josh and Jeremy were left, it was Missy and Keith at the end....if you get rid of the big dogs, Josh and Jeremy, will it be Missy and Keith battling to the end? It crossed my mind."

Very interesting indeed.

It's also interesting that we disagree on which of Jon and Jaclyn is the smarter one. I guess I still hear Jeremy calling him a cartoon character.

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11-19-14, 03:03 PM (EST)
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85. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
Michel: I watched the Survivor Live interview between Jeff and Josh, and he told them exactly how they were divided...I made notes, but has soon as I transcribe the gist of it into the thread, I pitch the could be right...I just recall that they had decided ahead of time that they would not be on the same teams, and that Reed first got Jeremy, I was thinking that Baylor chose Josh first...IDK?

You could also be right on Keith not choosing Missy because she didn't participate in the challenge, lol!

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Sheldor 562 desperate attention whore postings
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11-21-14, 04:25 PM (EST)
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88. "RE: Episode 8 - A Bunch of Pigs"
michel wrote: The press images gave us a hint that Reed and Baylor were the team captains so let’s see if we can figure out the picking order. Jon had to be the first overall pick so that means Baylor held the first draft choice. That would mean Reed picked Jeremy, the next strongest man with his first pick. Baylor’s next two picks would have been Alec and Josh leaving Reed to counter with Wes and Keith. That would mean that Jaclyn was the first woman picked followed by Natalie. If it did go that way then the players went for strength before allies or Loved Ones. Or maybe Reed and Josh talked about it before and decided to stay apart to have ears on both sides. That would be very smart but we didn’t hear about it since these two players won’t matter in the end.

From Survivor Live interview of Josh:

Baylor and Reed were indeed the team captains and yes, Baylor picked first.

Baylor -> Jon
Reed -> Jeremy
Baylor -> Josh
Reed -> Wes
Baylor -> Alec
Reed -> Natalie
Baylor -> Jaclyn
Reed -> Keith
Missy not picked

And yes, Reed and Josh decided before the Reward to NOT pick each other so they would be on different teams.
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11-18-14, 11:08 PM (EST)
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84. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
LAST EDITED ON 11-21-14 AT 02:41 AM (EST)

Our host has a very robust ego. And he is on record ... and record ... and record ... that he would never have considered this Season's winner as its winner at the outset of San Juan del Sur's filming.

So, I doubt that he presided over edits that would ultimately make him appear to be less than impressively wise in the ways of Survivor.

And that, I think, would mean that - at F10 - the pared list of contenders would consist of Natalie, Jaclyn, Alec, Wes and (perhaps) Keith.

In other words, given their edits to date - and their résumés - I don't think that JP would want to appear to suggest that he ever felt that Missy, Baylor, Jon, Jeremy and Reed weren't made of the right stuff.

But, I also think that it is about time for Mr. Probst's editors to begin letting his viewers in on the joke.

ETA: What I'm trying to say - badly - is that I think that this winner's edit was designed to confirm for the viewers - not that the Sole Survivor deserved the title - but that Jeff Probst's 'initial' belief that he or she could not | would not | should not win the Game was prudent and predictably brilliant.


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11-19-14, 07:44 PM (EST)
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86. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Thank you, Georgianna, I'll use that if Missy doesn't win!

However, I think the casual viewers were only seeing Jeremy, Josh and Jon as likely winners so anyone besides them would justify Jiffy's claim.

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Georganna 367 desperate attention whore postings
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11-21-14, 02:42 AM (EST)
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87. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
I'll use that if Missy doesn't win!

I'll remind you ...


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Sheldor 562 desperate attention whore postings
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11-21-14, 04:32 PM (EST)
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89. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
Georgana wrote: Our host has a very robust ego. And he is on record ... and record ... and record ... that he would never have considered this Season's winner as its winner at the outset of San Juan del Sur's filming.

For reference, here is what Jeff said in his TV Guide pre-season interview:

And, according to Probst, it's one of the most unpredictable seasons in Survivor history.

"This is a very unorthodox season," Probst says. "Some seasons just roll along and you can almost predict it. This season, I couldn't have predicted the way it was going to go. I would have never predicted who was going to win or be in at the end. And I hope that's the same journey that the audience has. Just so many weird things happen. Tribes have issues that they have to deal with me about, and they're losing things and wanting to trade for things and running out of things. It was just a constant, daily, 'What? What happened now?' I think there are a lot of things we haven't seen in a while, and I think the audience is going to enjoy it. I think it's going to feel refreshing and different."

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11-22-14, 01:31 AM (EST)
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91. "RE: Survivor 29: The Characters and their Stories"
A lot of this stuff he's saying is about the pre-merge stuff with the whole running out of rice and trading for flint. Other than that he couldn't predict who would be at the end because it was thought to be Jeremy or Josh. However while he couldn't predict who would win, it doesn't mean his gut was not right. Jon looks like the winner but has to deal with backlash of it and probably idol pimps his way to the end.
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11-22-14, 01:19 AM (EST)
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90. "Disappointed"
I'm honestly disappointed with the editing this season. If Jon was going to win they should have at least shown him the first episode more. Here's the problem, he does not command the screen like Russell, Rob, Tyson, Tony do. He's not that guy yet he's being shown as this power player but really he isn't likable to the viewers and if he won, he would not be a well accepted winner either. People on FORT do not like him, people on Sucks do not like him. He would be the first alpha male under 30 since JT in 09 to win.

Anyways I'm picking up on shady editing at the moment, players that are getting dark edits where they become instant targets and. Keith's was two episodes ago, Reed was this past episode, and Natalie I feel is getting one coming up. Therefore I feel they are the next three to go. Alec did have it last week but Keith's rant about Baylor and his accent and his age put him above him as a target.

9.Natalie(also was aligned with Jeremy)
8.Reed(once Nat goes Reed is not needed)
7.Keith(time's up he's the first of the country boys to go)

Then you have the two blahs in Wes and Jaclyn. Alec's gotten not enough airtime but when he does it seems he's getting edits where he's noticed. Negative or not, he hasn't though been shown other than the Baylor incident to constantly go on about broken alliances like Keith or game too hard like Reed and Nat. We know Jaclyn is supposed to be gone before family visit if that person was telling the truth about her grand dad. I can see Alec and Wes getting with Baylor and Missy to get Jaclyn out. But after that Jon will likely have immunity or still have his idol and he gets to decide which side to take. He will think Missy and Baylor are the goats and Alec and Wes have friends on the jury.


Then we have final four and it's almost predictable. Jon's sitting pretty with a immunity win and taking two goats(in his eyes) to the F3. This is where, like last season, I think the family visit will be. Jon or Alec stand the best chances at winning this last immunity and Baylor and Missy know they don't have to do anything to win because they are safe. I'm going to say Jon wins final immunity and Alec goes.

Then you have the jury. Baylor's biggest fan on sucks thinks Baylor is going to the end with a strong chance of winning. But Baylor has done nothing but helped Jon and her mother all game. Missy had a good social game, got along with everyone and will certainly get Keith's vote, and may as well get Wes's as well.

Josh......a gamer so you'd think he would vote for a gamer. He will vote for Jon.
Jeremy....he got betrayed by Jon but does that consititue respect. Missy was a bigger ally of his and she did what Jon told her. Does that hurt Missy? Does Jeremy reward the instigator or the go-along? I feel he will vote for Jon.
Natalie...She will not vote Jon I don't think, she votes Missy.
Reed......Like Josh, he's voting for the one who played him. Jon.
Keith.....Easily Missy.
Jaclyn....Of course Jon.
As you see Jon has four votes and Missy has two.
Wes.......Missy like his dad.
Alec......Alec can vote with his closest ally Wes or vote for Jon. I think Alec is the swing vote in deciding to vote for the winner or force a tie. Could we have a first tie for the win? He would vote Missy because a vote for Baylor will mean nothing and because of Keith and Wes. But he could give Jon the money.

So either Jon wins or a tie happens and some tiebreaker decides it. If the fans vote, Missy is more unpopular enough for Jon to win. If its a challenege Jon probably wins whatever they throw at him. Only way Missy wins a tie is if Baylor gets to decide and that's way too easy. I think the tiebreaker will be based on challenge wins and that goes to Jon if it comes down to that.

So there you have it Jon wins and once the season is over people will remember how hated this season was.

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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11-22-14, 04:20 AM (EST)
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92. "!!"
people on Sucks do not like him

That is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Thank you for that!

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michel2 526 desperate attention whore postings
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11-22-14, 06:27 PM (EST)
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93. "Episode 9 - It's Part of the Game:"
Previously on Survivor, we saw the power alliance that was formed when Josh recruited Jaclyn and Jon (we hear that Josh is very confident that he has the numbers) ... and they were targeting Jeremy.

But when Jon was sent to Exile Island, Jaclyn’s new alliance showed their true colors. (The editors used a short cut to make it look like Alec was talking to Jaclyn instead of Baylor)
At Exile Island, Jon found a hidden immunity idol and, at the immunity challenge, Jeremy won security of his own. (Jeremy is shown, happy to have foiled Josh and his goons’ plan)
Facing Tribal Council Jon and Jaclyn were second guessing their new alliance and it came to bite Josh and his alliance when Jon and Jaclyn flipped.

We saw Jon winking at Jaclyn.

In this summary, Alec looked even worse than in the last episode. The scene where he was bugging Baylor was cut in such a way that it looked like he was addressing Jaclyn directly. It was as if he was the only reason why Jaclyn didn’t want to work with the guys anymore. On the other hand, Jeff’s recap completely ignored Keith and Wes’ responsibility in the mess. This tells us to keep an eye on the father and son team. Keith’s story in particular merits our attention.

It’s Part of the Game

Huyopa – Night 21

The music was like a long lament while we were shown the Tribal flag, the camera practically focusing on Josh and Reed’s name.

I think this choice of music and the camera’s focus on Josh’s name painted on the flag is a tip of the cap to Josh, a good player. It could also be a sign that Jon and Jaclyn made the wrong decision; that Josh’s elimination will not work out for them in the end.

The tribe agreed that the council had been intense and we saw Missy hugging Jon and then all the women hugged.

Like the Colby/Tina alliance was key in understanding the story that came out of The Outback, I see the Jon/Missy alliance as the key to this season. Between the two couples we have a mixture of Blood and Water alliances.

Reed had a confessional: “I am furious that Josh is gone. Our game together has now officially come to an end. So, I’m not exactly sure who to turn to just yet but, right now, all I have to do is worry about me now. I need to figure out how to move forward being in the minority.”

For this episode, Reed will be successful but let’s not get carried away by his developing story arc. We have to keep in mind that the post-merge episodes are always designed to create distractions, players that suddenly appear to have great potential. The winner’s story is constructed carefully over the course of the whole season and it’s evident that Reed hasn’t received that patient construction before this episode.

Jon asked Jaclyn and Missy if everyone hated him. He felt bad because he really led Josh on. Missy told him that it was just part of the game. Baylor came in and hugged him, saying: “The big brother that I never had.”

Jon in confessional: “The thing that pushed me over the edge to join the alliance with Jeremy was when Jaclyn felt disrespected by everybody in Josh and Reed’s alliance. I wasn’t sure why but my instincts were telling me that it wasn’t the right thing to do. If there is anything that I learned watching past Survivor it’s trust your instincts.”

Keith joined the conversation, saying: “You two jump ship quick. Jon has been lying to me for 18 days. Missy has probably been lying to me for 17 days.”

Jon replied that they were never lined up while Missy said that it was part of the game.

Keith in confessional: “It didn’t go our way tonight. Jon and Jaclyn flipped over there again with them and we’re in a bad place. They can pick us off one at a time. I have the idol and the thing with that is playing it at the right time to maybe get one of them out. Maybe I can tell them to vote me off, they all put my name down and I play the idol. I’ve had it with Jon, I’ve had it with Missy so it might not be a bad idea because it’s getting to crunch time now.”

That confessional was presented in two parts. In the middle of it, we heard Keith blaming Missy for not staying with the couples.

This is the one piece of evidence that plays in Keith’s favor: After the last vote, we knew that the focus at the start of the episode would be on Reed and Jon. We really didn’t need to hear from Keith at all at this point yet he not only intervened, he gave us a great reason why he could win over Jon and Missy. They are liars while he is an honest man. The question becomes: Is lying part of the game? Before you say that it obviously is, remember that it would be a great story for the often outwitted but honest man to make an amazing come back and take the title. I mean, the guy was even outwitted by a piece of flint yet he still has one of the best stories out there. It may have been designed only for its entertainment value but it could hold the moral of the story.

The Reward Challenge – Keith! Keith! Keith!

The Blue team had Wes, Missy, Jon, Jaclyn and Keith. They were facing off against Alec, Baylor, Reed, Jeremy and Natalie.

When Wes went up against Reed, we heard Jon’s encouragements: “Wes, think of food... my first freakin’ meal since the merge.” Despite that, Reed won the point.

Even if she had a longer reach, Jaclyn lost to Natalie.
Jon lunged at Jeremy and threw him in the mud, scoring his team’s first point.

When Missy faced Baylor, Jeff reminded us that the daughter defeated her mom the last time. Missy went for it but missed and wound up in the mud.

When Keith tricked Alec, pretending to relax just before giving him a push, we heard a chorus of Keith! Keith! Keith! Keith! from his team.

After slapping some mud in Reed’s eye, Wes won their rematch.
In a second rematch, Jaclyn tried to give a hard push to Natalie who didn’t budge. The reaction sent Jaclyn into the mud.

When Jon faced Jeremy for the second time, Jaclyn reminded him of the sandwiches. That was all Jon needed to defeat Jeremy.

It came down to Missy and Baylor, which was very fitting in Blood versus Water according to Jeff. Jeff asked: “Does mom have anything left in that tank?” Jeff told us that Missy went for it but she fell in so Baylor won the reward for her team. Keith went to help Missy out of the pool of mud.

The fulcrum of the season was presented in this challenge: On one side, many viewers had been saying that Missy would give in to her daughter, would sacrifice her game for her. Here however, we saw that Missy will not hesitate to go for the win. Now, some will still argue that she will fail in the game just like she did in the challenge but the outcome of the challenge wasn’t something that could be manipulated. Only Jeff’s words were and he told us that she went for it.

On the other side, we heard everyone cheering for Keith as if that’s what the audience should do also. Granted, Jon and the others were mostly thinking of sandwiches when Keith surprised Alec but I’d expect the jury to cheer much in the same way if Keith makes his way to the end against other “goons”.

Besides those two aspects of the story, I also enjoyed seeing Keith helping Missy out of the mud. It could simply have been a courteous gesture but I think it tells us that there is something going on between those two. A secret affair perhaps? No, not that kind of affair but it’s possible that Honest Keith isn’t telling us everything that is going on. Someone will be telling him to vote against Reed and we know that Missy will be thinking of splitting the votes to include Reed’s name on the parchments.

Natalie asked Jeff if she could trade positions. Jeff replied: “You can give up your reward.” So Natalie gave the yacht trip and the food to Jon. Jeremy immediately jumped in, giving his place to Jaclyn. The Michigan couple could hardly believe it. Jeff admiringly said that it was a “crazy trade”. Jon said he was holding back tears. Natalie explained that she had been nervous at Tribal Council so she wanted to reward their loyalty by showing love and respect.

The five agreed on sending Jeremy to Exile. Jeff could hardly believe it: “Two minutes ago he was on a yacht.”

Baylor, who had voiced the team’s decision, explained in confessional: “We chose Jeremy to go to Exile just because I’m positive there is an idol on Exile and it would be better for our alliance to find it.”

There was an obvious change in voice tone before the last part of Baylor’s comment so we know her words were spliced together. Maybe the cut was done only to save time but it’s possible that Baylor mentioned an ulterior motive in sending Jeremy and we weren’t meant to hear it. I suspect she said she’d like to see her mom find the idol but that she didn’t think her mom would handle exile well. If so, cutting her sentence protects Missy’s credibility as a survivalist. As is, the alliance’s possession of the idol is all that mattered.


The Howler monkey greeted Natalie, Missy, Keith and Wes back in camp.

Natalie in confessional: “We got the “W” but I decided to give up my spot to Jon.” Missy was heard at this point: “Jon needs food.” Natalie’s confessional continued: “I just wanted to do this so he knew that I appreciated him siding with us at Tribal but also to make sure that, moving forward, I could always count on Jaclyn and Jon to trust me and Jeremy. This is going to be leverage for me down the road.”

If Survivor was a fair game, maybe it would have worked out like Natalie hoped but it’s an evil game as Jeremy found out. The game now depends on Natalie’s reaction after a vote that really shocked her.

Keith told Natalie that Jon was with her for life since he was almost crying when he realized he was going on reward.

Wes in confessional: “Natalie and Jeremy trading place for the reward was a big time strategic move. Jon and Jackie aren’t going to flip now. I congratulate them for it. Touché!”

Kat was cuter when she (mis)used the expression.

Wes pleaded with Natalie and Missy: “If me or him are going home, please let us know. I don’t want to be blindsided.”

Natalie replied that she wanted Reed gone. Keith assured them they would be final 6 after the move they pulled.

Keith gave us an interview: “Wesley was letting Nat know that he didn’t want to be blindsided. I don’t know if they took that hint. It was kind of a subtle hint really. That way we could get a little bit of a heads up on playing the idol or passing the idol between us two.”

Now Keith is even plunging into the subtleties of the game! What an interesting turn of events. On the other hand, if Amazon Matt could learn the game well enough to imitate Hatch during final immunity then there certainly is hope for Keith. However, Matt had Rob teaching him those subtleties so it’s really amusing to see Keith discovering them on his own.

Exile Island

Jeremy: “Jon and Jaclyn joined our alliance and I appreciate that so giving up my reward to them is the least that I could do. I came to exile because I want to find the idol so that I can protect myself and I can bring it back to my alliance and say: Look at what we have. And now everybody feels like we can trust him. So, when I make a move, they don’t expect it. But first, I need to find this idol.”

The staff of Survivor likes to torture their players because they sent the yacht right by Exile Island. Jeremy saw it and told us he really wanted that food and the beer. He would soon get a chance for all the sandwiches and drinks he wanted.
On that yacht, the group was observing dolphins that were swimming by on starboard.

Jon gave us a confessional: “...It was really cool and being able to share it with Jaclyn was incredible. It was a very good way for Jeremy and Natalie to show their gratitude. We are very thankful for it but we do have to realize that this is a social game and that was a very big play on their part.”

Reed also had an interview: “I enjoy food and I enjoy rewards but Jon and Jaclyn were not supposed to be on the reward. Natalie is just trying to ingratiate herself to everyone by going: I love you so I’m going to give up my spot for that. It makes you want to hurl because it’s so transparent. Yes, it cements Jon and Jaclyn into their alliance but, in the end, does it really mean anything? Not if I can help it because I don’t have anything to lose right now. I might have to stir up a little bit of chaos to stay in the game right now. It may end up being the last nail in my coffin but it’s a risk I am willing to take at this point.”

The first part of Reed’s confessional really made him sound jealous that he didn’t think of doing the same. I’m sure those sandwiches didn’t taste as good as they should have when he realized he missed an opportunity. It’s also funny that someone who would resort to a dirty trick to ingratiate himself to everyone would hurl when someone did something so transparent. The gall! Would he prefer that his enemies be sneaky?! Even if this episode would be great for Reed, it didn’t turn him into an endearing character.

Exile Island – Night 23

The crabs were surrounding Jeremy and the weather wasn’t helping. “I hate exile. It’s just a long night, there’s no shelter, and you are sleeping on rocks next to the fire. It’s just not fun. I stayed up most of the night and now I feel really lethargic this morning... I wanted to find the immunity idol but I didn’t find it. I am going to go check the island one more time. I climbed this all day yesterday and I couldn’t find it. The only thing I’m thinking is if Jon already found it. If Jon found it, it would be great but he should have told me he found it and I wouldn’t be out here for two days. I’m dying over here, I’m tired.”

As this image showed, this season put the good guy in a nest of crabs.

Huyopa – Day 24

Jon was talking to Jaclyn, realizing that Jeremy would suspect he had the idol. He said: “Either people are going to think he is extremely stupid and he’s trying to pull off that he couldn’t find it or they are going to think that I was lying this whole time. They know he’s not dumb.”

Jon’s confessional started in the middle of his discussion with Jaclyn: “This is one of those times when I hadn’t really considered what is going to happen when Jeremy does come back and says he can’t find the idol. My entire cover would be blown and I could be in very big trouble.”

For someone who was expecting the need for damage control, Jon looked ill-prepared when the time came.

The Immunity Challenge

Jeff noticed that Jeremy looked beat up. Jeremy told him that the bugs and the crabs were scary. Baylor and Natalie’s reaction told us that they knew what he meant. Jon looked sorry.

Jeff’s initial instructions were clear: Use only your feet so when Natalie picked up a piece that had fallen out of her basket with her hands, I was expecting either a disqualification or at least a time penalty but Jeff was silent at first. Then, when Wes and Reed also replaced some pieces by hand in their basket, we heard him say: “If a piece drops at any point, you can pick it up with your hands to put it back in the basket but you got to use your feet to do everything else.”

It made the whole thing look like he was making the rules as he went but hey! that’s part of the game! I wonder if other players that were disqualified of challenges like Rafe and Jenna fill bitter when they see just how flexible the rules can be.

Missy was moving slowly but we heard her say: “No panic. No panic.”

Keith did surprisingly well but, he met disaster on the last piece of the final row.

I really think Keith will come close but will meet disaster during the final few episodes...or will he?

Looking at the set up, it was obvious that Reed had an advantage: Nimble feet, flexibility and strong abdomens because of his dance training. However, the same athletic skills apply to cheerleaders also. Baylor won because this challenge also involved another of her skills: Sitting around, doing nothing with her hands.

Missy was really happy and led the applause.

The “kiss of death” spot for a confessional went to... JEREMY! “Exile zapped me. If I was one hundred percent then that would have made a difference. I always want to win but as long as one of our alliance members won, I’m happy how it turned out.”

I know that the person giving the confessional immediately after the immunity challenge hasn’t always gone home but when someone is about to be blindsided and that person feels as comfortable as Jeremy, it’s almost always is the way the editors start the funeral march towards Tribal Council.

Huyopa – Day 24

When the tribe arrived back in camp, we only heard a “Good job, Baylor.”

There was much less effusions than we normally hear. Jealousy again or was the joy cut out so that we wouldn’t join in?

Reed had a confessional: “I didn’t win immunity today, which I came close to. I’m a little bummed about that because I feel that was a custom made challenge for me. Now, I’m thinking that my chances of being here tomorrow are pretty slim. I may be going home tonight so I will light this camp on fire on my way out.”

By the way, whenever we say that production designed a challenge to help a specific person, we have posters write that we are making up conspiracy theories but Reed was in trouble and he even admitted that the challenge was custom made for him. It could have been a coincidence but it is amazing how often lucky coincidences happen on this show.

Reed went through Keith’s bag and his confessional continued: “So, I want to see what Keith has in his bag. I want to see what this old coot is sitting on... He’s got...directions on what to do with the immunity idol. Keith left a paper trail and it’s a big rookie mistake. Don’t leave stuff in your bag that you don’t want people to find. I always thought that I hate it when people go through people’s stuff but desperate time calls for desperate measures.”

Reed showed the paper to Jaclyn, Missy and Baylor, saying he got it by going through what he thought was Julie’s bag but it was Keith’s instead.

Missy in interview: “I know Reed is scrambling but Keith really has an idol. It’s not good at all. You know, quite frankly, it may be something that we should think about.”

Baylor also had an interview: “If what Reed is saying is true, freaking Keith, out of all people, has an idol which is baffling. I would never think that Keith would be the one to find it and be able to hide it this long. Who knows how long he’s had it? So, it’s about to get crazy.”

It’s funny that Baylor couldn’t believe that Keith had the idol because, like most of us, she probably doesn’t think that Keith is a contender for the victory. However, this is certainly another thing that makes us wonder because he is still in contention and has one of the best stories remaining. We also have to add Reed and Baylor to those who have said that Keith isn’t smart. It’s really going into overkill which always makes me question the editors’ intent. Will Keith overcome all these odds at the end of the story? One thing the viewers had to think when Baylor mentioned “Keith out of all people” is that Baylor herself would never have found it but at least Keith put in the effort.

Keith was quick to tell Wes that someone broke into his bag so that everybody knew he had the idol.

Keith had a confessional: “I mean; that is my stuff. I don’t go through your stuff so I don’t expect people to go through my stuff but different people got different values. The word might be out that Keith’s got the idol and it may come in play sooner than later.”

This is another example of “Honest Keith” having to deal with “bad” people.

Jaclyn informed Jon about the idol. He couldn’t believe his ears. Jon said that he burned his instructions.

Jon’s interview: “There’s a lot going on. It’s total mayhem right now in camp. Keith has an idol so he’s got a very good play in his pocket. It really complicates things.”

It would get even more complicated next because Jeremy was telling Natalie that Jon had an idol. He also said that Natalie was the only one he trusted: “I don’t trust nobody else.”
Jeremy had a confessional where he told us he wanted to catch Jon in a lie: “Jon is like the worst liar.”

Jeremy took out the clue he had received during his exile and asked both Natalie and Jon to tell him where they think the idol was hidden. When Jon said it meant that it was on the island, Jeremy said he looked so that he thought Jon had to have it. Jon tried to act like he didn’t have it but it was quite apparent that he was hiding something.

Jeremy’s confessional continued: “Jon has got to be lying but I have to trust him a little bit. We are all in this together, we are trying to get to the final 6 and then we will see what happens.”

Jon in confessional: “Sending Jeremy to exile was a great thing at first but I think right now that Jeremy believes I have the idol and isn’t saying that. So I need to do something and change the course of the game.”

Jon talked to Missy, saying that both he and Jaclyn trust her. He added: “I found the idol. I would like Jeremy out at this tribal or the next.” Missy realized that Jeremy would start telling people that Jon had the idol.

Missy in confessional: “I just got this information about the idol and I’m very pleased to know that Jon is super-aligned with me. But, he’s got this look in his eyes. Jon is saying that Jeremy’s a threat, Jeremy’s a threat. Now may be the time to take out Jeremy but you know, it’s interesting because I watched Jon and Jaclyn barrel through some people so far and they have no problem pissing people off. Since I’ve started this game, I have been aligned with Jeremy and Natalie from my old tribe. Jeremy and I initially were together full-fledge, so, for the first time, it’s a little bit cloudy and at the end of the day, is it like we are making the right decision? I think maybe a better way to do it is split the votes Keith and Reed, try to flush the idol and stick together six strong just because, if we rock the boat too hard, one of us is going to fall out.”

If we remember, Josh introduced a theme this season that it was good to have people come to him with their plans. Of course, it didn’t turn out so good for Josh but that’s mainly because he started scrambling at the merger. Now, Missy is the one getting people to come to her, first Reed and now Jon. Maybe she will have better luck with that great advantage than Josh had. We also have to note that Missy just told us how she would beat Jon and Jaclyn if they were to face the jury together. “Jon and Jaclyn barrel through some people and they have no problem pissing people off.” That really sounded like the final argument in her favor.

Tribal Council

When Josh entered, he only exchanged sweet smiles with Reed, giving us no indication that he was angry with anyone.
Jeff asked Jeremy about trust with the six people in his alliance.
That’s pretty much Jeff-speak for: “Can’t you see what they are about to do to you?”
Jeremy said that trust was huge. He was hoping it would last all the way to the end.

Seeing that Jeremy wasn’t catching on, Probe pressed the point, asking how he could make sure that it stayed that way.

Jeremy mentioned that he and Natalie gave their reward to Jon and Jaclyn.

Jaclyn, for once, didn’t put her foot in her mouth when she told Jiffy that it didn’t complicate the game, it just reassured them, told them they made the right decision to go with them.
Jeremy was all smiles when Jeff mentioned that he was sent to Exile Island.

Obviously tired of this discussion, Reed interrupted: “Jeff it’s not exactly selfless. It definitely serves a purpose. It cements trust, it’s: You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. So, it’s self-serving in being selfless.”
Jeremy admitted it was true and Reed agreed with Jeff that it was a good move.
Jeremy then told Probe that he was spent after his trip to Exile Island. “It kicked my butt.”
Missy agreed, saying Jeremy looked completely fatigued. “It was a different Jeremy.”

Probe asked Missy about idols, noting that none had been played after 24 days.
Missy said there was a lot of speculation but that people were feeling comfortable. “You shouldn’t be comfortable in your skin this entire game because you have no idea. It can switch on a dime.”
Jon said he was confident that someone had one.
Natalie said it was scary that the other side could have one adding: “It’s also scary that a member of your alliance could be hiding one from you as well.”
Jaclyn went back to Keith and Wes who, contrary to Reed and Alec, had not been talking to her and Jon. She concluded: “That shows me confidence so, if I was going to take a wild guess at who has an idol, I would say either Wes or Keith because they are not really scrambling.”
Wes replied by saying he hadn’t talked to her about strategy the whole game and that she hadn’t talked to him either.
Jon pointed out that they were the ones that needed him and Jaclyn so talking may have helped.
A shouting match started which Keith tried to end by saying that he tried to talk to Jon until he sided with them.
Baylor interrupted saying that they should talk to the girls.
Keith countered that by saying: “I talk to your mom all the time.”
Baylor raised her arms saying: “I’m a girl, she’s a girl and so is Natalie.”
Keith said: “I talk to them when I pass them.”
Probe realized that was great news for Reed.
Reed said that he wanted the fight to continue because it could give him a whole new world of opportunities.
Jeff asked Jeremy about the timing of the move.
Jeremy brought it back to talking to Jaclyn when they were on the fence. He felt it was the time to show Jon that he had his back by taking care of his wife.
Natalie told Jeff that she wanted her alliance to stick to the plan. She didn’t want anything to distract them from their long term goals.
Of course, the camera went directly to Missy when Natalie said that.

It was time to vote.
We saw quite a few votes:
- Jeremy voted Keith.
- Keith voted for Reed.
- Natalie voted for Keith.
- Alec voted for Reed.

Jeff went to tally the votes and we saw Missy turning towards Keith, suggesting that Missy was hoping Keith would play his idol.

When Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol, the camera stayed on Keith a little longer than it usually does. How close was Keith to playing that idol?

Of course, none of the votes shown mattered because Jon, Jaclyn, Missy, Baylor and Reed all voted against Jeremy, shocking Josh and Natalie. She immediately turned to Missy: “What the ___, Missy?”

Reed winked at Josh just as Jeremy slammed his torch in the ground in front of Jeff.

Jeff concluded the evening by saying: “Tonight’s vote is both a brutal and a beautiful example of why you should never give up. Anything can happen.”

Keith, Reed and Wes were on screen when Jeff said you shouldn’t give up.

Natalie was still shaking her head when she walked out of the council area.

The Story

Now we know why Jeff was so open when he said that Julie’s decision saved Jeremy. It really didn’t matter that they showed us that Jeremy was lucky to have survived because his survival wasn’t linked to his allies’ success. Now, the two couples will have to find a way to the end without him. Many viewers will say that they made a big mistake, that their timing was wrong because now they are 4 in a group of 9. But the story isn’t really about the two couples making it to the end; it’s about the women fighting for respect. Natalie was shocked by this vote but, like Trish last season, she has nowhere to go. Since the four women have Jon in their pocket, they still have the numbers. At the start of the season, there were eight women competing against ten men and that numbers disadvantage got worse over the first two votes. Now, the tables are starting to turn and, with the elimination of the two biggest male players, the women may soon find themselves in the majority. It was the first time since Marquesas that the two big leaders of rival alliances got eliminated in the first two votes after the merger. We should all echo Jon’s words at the end of episode 4: “Good play, girls.”

Can the remnants of Josh’s alliance take back control from the two couples? While the numbers tell us that it is quite possible, we have to keep in mind that “the Goons” don’t have the end story ties that we would have seen before this turn of events. The story that we have watched coming out of San Juan del Sur wasn’t about Wes, Alec, Reed and Keith making it to the Final 4 together. It would be very disturbing to see the Frat boys succeed even if Survivor isn’t the Hilton.

The Characters

So whodunit? Who came back from Central America with his or her name on the majority of the ballots? Let’s see if we can make a case for these players.

The Innocents: They still don’t seem to know what went on around them.¸

Alec: I have read some comments that Alec is about to emerge as the victor but he is the leading Frat boy so I simply cannot make a case for his victory. The previews for the next episode show us a Christy brother starting to get interested in making a move. While some see it as the start of his story, I see it as its end. Like Drew, Alec will come up with a plan that will deliver his torch directly to Jeff’s snuffer.

Wes: The Baba Looey to this season’s “Slow Draw McGraw”, Wes cannot win. Even if the “goons” find a way to overturn the game, Wes cannot get the votes in the end. We have seen some random confessionals interspersed throughout the season but their content is severely lacking. He is a player without a story or strategy which tells us he is headed for a dead end.

The Accomplices

Natalie: She was left out of the loop but the move wasn’t designed to end her game. Can she realize that and put her hurt feelings aside or will she react like Keith and spit on her alliance with Missy? That really will be the key to next episode. With her, Missy and Jon don’t need Reed and the “goons” anymore. Her immediate reaction after the vote wasn’t very promising but a good discussion can heel all wounds. Missy has to make Natalie realize that she got too close to Jeremy, a player that neither could beat in the end. Maybe it will be Natalie’s turn to observe that Missy and Jon barrel through people.

A case can certainly be made for Natalie because she has shown an ability to think outside the box and come up with new ideas even if they are transparently self-serving. The main problem is that her only end game connections were with Jeremy and Missy and we just saw that Missy isn’t afraid to get rid of end game threats. There just doesn’t seem to be a seat for Natalie in the Finale, no matter which way she turns. Like Jeremy, she is now on borrowed time.

Jaclyn: After looking like the smarter member of the Michigan couple, we saw that Jaclyn was a few steps behind even Jon when he realized that Jeremy’s trip to Exile Island was a source of problems for them. Recent events had slowly built a case for Jaclyn but this episode has sent her back to square one. After receiving such a nice gift, one of Jon and Jaclyn was guaranteed to have a confessional during the reward, the fact that she was ignored in favor of Jon told us that the editors were Frat boys just like Wes and Alec: They go to Jon and ignore her. That ended her chances. We had concluded this a while back: Jaclyn’s story won’t reach further than that of a supporting actress to Jon’s role.

Baylor: After winning the final point in the reward challenge and beating everyone in a very tough immunity challenge, this episode could have been the one that made us cheer for the cheerleader but both accomplishments were practically ignored. The two confessionals that aired during this episode were merely narration and during Tribal Council she reduced her role to just “one of the girls”.

The case for Baylor is simple: We feel that she makes it to the end because we have received many indications that she will have to answer for her decisions. The problem comes when we ask if she can get the votes. If Jaclyn doesn’t feel respected, it’s even worse for Baylor. Even Keith knows that the game goes through her mom. Just like during the reward, the champagne will be reserved for the adults, the young one will have to be content without the grand prize.

The Interlopers

Reed: For a player that was on the block, Reed had a very good episode but he had to resort to a dirty trick in order to find an opening in the opposing alliance. It has to be noted that none of Reed’s action mattered in the end because it was the rivalry between Jon and Jeremy that was the deciding factor. Reed got the opportunity to avenge his partner’s elimination but it came at a price: His theft will cost him Keith and Wes’ trust. He will now face a fork in the road: Go back to the “Goons” or stay with the two couples and act as the swing vote at final 5. That second option almost seems too good to ignore. The problem is that the couples won’t need a swing at 5 because they are better off together at the Final 4.

The case for Reed has to include the fact that we heard he had caused drama earlier on. Even before Drew was eliminated, we heard that Reed had an affinity for chaos. The fact that we didn’t see any of his early antics could be considered a good sign. Instead of seeing him as a jerk, we saw him as someone scrambling to save himself. Were those antics really cut to make him more palatable or simply because they didn’t matter? Another thing to consider is that we heard that Josh and Reed had come up with the idea to be on different teams during challenges in order to be present on all the discussions. That’s a very good tactic. So good in fact that it would have been presented if Reed mattered. Just like we saw during the pre-merge, he doesn’t.

Keith: If I am wrong and Missy isn’t our Sole Survivor, then it will have to be because Keith found a way to the end. There are many scenes that make me say he won’t be our winner but nearly all of those are balanced by moments where it seems he is destined to make it to the end. Honest Keith would make for a much better representative than Jon and Missy who have been lying for weeks. We even see that the man who needs time to figure things out is starting to understand the subtleties of the game. He now looks like the only fireman who could get the million. But I will stay on course and say that Survivor is an evil game, that lying is part of the game and that Keith’s amusing story is nothing more than that. Survivor may not be the Hilton but there is still a need for respect, something Keith lacked in dealing with Baylor in particular.

The Main Suspects

Jon: Once more, we saw that Jon made a mistake, took a while to realize its significance and then made a big move to correct the situation. His obvious inability to reassure Jeremy about then idol told us that he should have been honest with the fireman. Just like he did with Missy, he could have come clean with Jeremy and they would have enjoyed smooth sailing to the Final 6. Would that have been a better path for Jon? He has faced more crossroads than most players in Survivor history so he will have a ton of “what ifs” to consider when this is all said and done.

Just the fact that the audience has been down the circuitous path along with Jon, being privy to all of his decisions, is a great case for him. Jon may not exactly know how to get to the end but he is still alive and fighting. We have heard about Jon’s personal story and he is given all the airtime needed to expose his strategy to the audience. That is usually reserved to the winners. However, the haphazard way that his thoughts are presented isn’t a good sign. We have seen too many hesitations and too many reasons why the others will hate him in the end.

Missy: As I showed when I chose the title that I thought represented the theme of this particular episode, I think that Missy’s actions are part of the game. Keith, like Dale before him, may be upset by her actions but this is Survivor so I think we are being shown the deviousness needed to play this game while keeping the others’ respect. Even after all she’s done to him, Keith still talks to Missy and was even quick to help her out of the mud pool after the loss. Missy’s last confessional of the evening told us how she will win: She will keep Jon wrapped around her finger and she will get more votes than him because he doesn’t have a problem with pissing off the others.

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