|by Wanda Shirk
We love Survivor for lots of reasons, one of which is the way it truly does mirror real life for us — there are bullies and submissives, physically strong people and frailer ones, smart people and fools, almost-disgustingly sunshiny people and curmudgeons. Let’s face it: Though most of us have “hated” Judd, he’s been fun to watch, and surely he will be one of the most memorable Survivors ever. He’s brought this season to life. Even his “Scumbags!” reaction to his dismissal was fun to watch, especially after he reminded folks at TC that someone has to go home, and whoever it is just needs to “Deal with it!” Well said, pal! Time now to take your own medicine!
Judd left hoppin’ mad, and though I didn’t see The Early Show, I heard that his anger has not subsided in the least. That should make the Reunion Show really fun to watch. Wow! Judd and Steph have to be together again only days from now! Sparks will fly — on stage and off! I wonder if Steph is scared to have to see him.
Judd must be given credit for playing a strong game. He developed a strong, tight alliance, and he put all his eggs in that basket. He gave Steph the clue he won to look for the immunity idol, he invited Steph to the big-table feast after the jav-throwing reward challenge, and he ultimately gave Steph the biggest gift of all: the chance for her boyfriend Mike to stay and experience a day of camplife. Judd couldn’t have done more to create a sense of mutual obligation in his chosen alliance partner. But Judd did himself in with his out-of-control personality. The tribe couldn’t stand him any more, they concocted an exit strategy for him, and Steph subscribed to the suggestion that he could be a threat at the end.
You would not, for example, want Judd in the challenge when the car is up for grabs — unless you didn’t want a car.
However, Judd would have been a PERFECT person for Steph to take along to the final two, should Stephenie go that far. Guatemala tribesfolks will have plenty of reasons not to want to give a million dollars to a recycled Palau player — but against Judd, anybody would look like a better choice for the ONE prize with six zeros! Anybody thinking serious final two strategy would want to go against Judd even more than Lydia, whose positive personality might lend itself to some consideration at a final vote paired against a player who was disliked for any reason.
Before we leave Judd as a topic of conversation, we must add that his wife Kristin sure seems like a sweetie. One wonders what a jewel like that saw in him! She does bring out the best in him. Judd was always (and only?) likable when he talked about his wife and daughter. There’s Judd’s soft spot. I’m glad Kristin got to be with Judd around camp and marvel at the way he adapted to a life far from his normal urban habitat. I’m sure she needs a file of reasons to respect and admire him when he gets crazy in real life back home!
Having a family member spend a night at the camp is surely the greatest possible reward in Survivor, better than any food could ever be. For your life-partner to know from first-hand experience what camp was really like creates a treasure of a memory to share forever. I was genuinely happy that Mike got to share a night there with Stephenie; they will remember that always, and in a way it will be more special than a honeymoon. Steph and Mike are a great couple, and I was truly happy that they got that gift. Sure, it’s nice for siblings or parents to share the experience, but there’s just nothing like the unity of a life-partner, and Mike and Steph have shown a commitment to each other that I believe will last forever, so I’m cheering them on!
Now the Cindy-Judd connection is an interesting one. Cindy gave Judd the extra cash that enabled him to buy the reward they shared (hooray for Mindy, too! — though we grieved to see Rafe’s tears with his mother so close but yet so far …). Judd owed Cindy, so it was right that she get to spend time with her sister. However, we ended up seeing Cindy blind-sided by the Judd vote just as Judd was blind-sided earlier by the Jamie vote. That tells us a lot about the nature of the inner circle. The preview for the next episode clues us in that Cindy’s not happy about being left out. It’s a delicate situation. Get mad about being left out — and you’ll be the next one voted out! Might be time to start being really, really, really nice to everyone else … but Cindy has never come across as strong on interpersonal connections out there.
It’ll presumably be between Lydia and Cindy at this Thursday’s TC. Everybody apparently likes Rafe, worships Steph, and has warmed up to Danni, having forgotten that she was Yaxha. But Thursday night is only an appetizer — the Big Meal is the finale soon after that — and the Reunion show could be the most interesting season-ending dessert we’ve ever had!
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