|by Wanda Shirk
Gary’s parting shot was right on target. I was surprised that he waited that long to fire it, but he finally told the rest of Yaxhum that “honest Judd” told a flat-out lie to the whole tribe when he said that the immunity idol was on the ground, when it was really in a tree. And Judd was incorrect in charging that Gary lied in trying to make the pact of a Steph-Judd alliance joining a Danni-Gary alliance. Yes, Gary had argued that he didn’t think Lydia or Cindy deserved to be in the Final Four. But he didn’t lie about anything, and since StephJudd-Inc. refused the deal, he had every right to try to save himself by attempting a Lydia-Rafe deal with him and Danni instead. In fact, I thought and fervently hoped that he’d pull it off. The TC vote was a surprise and disappointment to me. I really thought Gary would negotiate another three days and take Judd out first. That would have been a glorious victory.
The lying, obnoxious Judd won again. But surely he was wounded by the parting shot. It could be a pyrrhic victory for Judd. Let’s hope!
What does an “outsider” do when he realizes that a major alliance has locked him out? Gary took action in the logical order: (1) Try to bargain with the management in the major alliance. (2) If that fails, try to broker a new deal with minor players. Many people do nothing; they just let the game happen to them, just let themselves be elminated. Gary did everything he could do to stay as long as possible. I completely admire his game plan and the intensity with which he played it. Good job, Man!
Taking stock right now, we’re getting to the point where we could start to configure a Final Four status. The remaining six players fall into three groups. The first group has strikes against them: Judd, Lydia, and Cindy. The second group seems to have no strikes against them: Steph, Danni, and Rafe.
Judd’s behavior has long been a strike against him. His tribemates see it and dislike it, but he has stayed in the game because of a tight alliance with Steph so that others have feared to cross him/them. However, the group took Jamie out in spite of the alliance. Rafe, Cindy, Danni, and Lydia certainly have the power now to take Judd out, Steph alliance or no Steph alliance.
Lydia is a liability as a partner when people are paired in challenges, but that’s not likely to happen again. However, this week for the first time we saw Lydia as negative energy around camp. Previously she has always been positive, even when others got to eat and she did not, but she’s become hungry and tired of being taken advantage of. Steph could have been sympathetic toward Lydia’s need but was not, and the majority has started to see Lydia as self-pitying at this point. Even Lydia knows that she’s now an outsider.
Cindy has consistently gotten Gary’s votes at TC. She’s been a major-alliance-insider, but there is a side of Cindy that only Gary has shown us. Gary is intense as a player, but he’s not a bad guy or hard to get along with, yet Cindy has been more than aloof — she’s been testy; she’s not warm, accepting, and sympathetic to outsiders — in this case, the Yaxha mergers. She’s never been seen as tight in the Big-Six (now Big-Five) alliance, never an inner-circle person.
Of Judd, Lydia, and Cindy, I predict that only one will make the final four.
Steph rules. She might not always be right, but she rules. It’s interesting to see a female who is so dominating. We’ve seen Survivor won by women, but never by a woman who was the game’s mastermind, the dominant player. Women winners have been UTRs, primarily. This is not to say that some, Tina as a great example, have not been strong and deserving, but never before has a woman been the key decision-maker in the game. Steph is most comparable to Brian H. in the degree of control she wields, and no one is objecting.
Danni has been an outsider, having been Yaxha, but she’s never been targeted at a TC or in a discussion. She’s liked. The game is now intra-tribal, not inter-tribal. I don’t believe Danni’s Yaxha background will be a liability in future decisions.
Rafe is MUCH liked. His corn jugs and Cindy’s, interestingly, were the least/last attacked at this week’s RC, and Cindy chose Rafe to enjoy the reward with her. Rafe’s problem is probably that he is SO liked that when it comes to the final immunity, he has to win it or he cannot be in the final two. Since Colby lost his million dollars to Tina, no one has dared to take a well-liked tribemate to the final two vote. The person who wins immunity takes the LEAST-LIKED of the remaining tribemates. Rafe’s only hope is to win that final immunity, and there is every reason to believe that he can do it. He’s won what — three individual immunities now? But nobody resents him, everybody loves him. That’s great, but when it comes to the final three, being most-loved is not necessarily an asset. It forces you to win the final challenge.
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