Now that’s more like it!
Last week I wrote that Mark Burnett didn’t do his usual editing job, and he made it too easy to figure out exactly who would be going home way too early in the show. But this week, not only was I not sure which tribe it would be, I didn’t know until after the immunity challenge who might be going, and then even with that, I wasn’t sure which way the vote would go and if an Idol might be played.
The central theme once again was the so-called Exile Alliance. From the previews, we knew that people would begin to suspect something going on with those that kept going to Exile. Tyson watched as Stephen nominated Brendan to go to exile, and then Brendan returned the favor sending Stephen, something pre-worked out within their alliance of four. Tyson immediately began to suspect Brendan of trying to make alliances within the other tribe. True, but if he only knew the half of it.
Taj found the Idol back at Jalapao and gave it to Stephen for safe-keeping. Little did she know that he didn’t have everyone’s best intentions. In his opinion it seemed he was thinking that possession was nine-tenths of the law. He didn’t plan on ever giving the Idol back to Taj. Yet at the same time, Tyson was telling his suspicions to the rest of his tribe, as they all decided to send Brendan home right then and there. Erinn, though, seemed like she wouldn’t be against sending Coach out the door. Both tribes were seen setting up for who might go home.
I do want to add in here that I did figure that nothing would come of Tyson’s suspicions, as Jeff has really talked up the brilliance of this new game plan of sending someone from each tribe to Exile each week. That means it either works really well throughout, or explodes in a big way, and it just isn’t going to blow up in their faces this early.
Once Jalapao lost immunity and was going to tribal council, JT wanted Spencer on the block, because he didn’t put everything he had into the last challenge. Taj then got her name thrown into the mix when she freaked out over seemingly nothing. The question is if she was being considered only after her blowup, or if her name was being thrown around before. To me a more obvious choice than them would have been Stephen. Sydney is of course a good choice as well, but Joe and JT don’t want to lose their eye candy and half-naked cuddly buddy. Yet Spencer and Taj were two of the stronger members of the tribe. They were two odd choices.
Stephen, with the Idol in his pocket, knew that Taj’s name was out there and that he could save her and the Exile alliance, but thought that might not be his best move, seeing that alliance as expendable, since he could stick with Joe, JT, and Spencer. However, I kept thinking sure, you can see that as a better move now, but come merge time, Brendan and Sierra would be upset with him for letting that happen, and all he’d have would be the other three guys. If he gave the Idol to Taj and tipped her off secretly, he’d still have both alliances, putting him in a better position.
So we were still in the dark over what was going to happen at Tribal Council. Burnett’s editing hadn’t tipped us off that much. We weren’t sure whether the Idol had been slipped to Taj or not. Her possibly having an Idol was a topic of the tribal council, increasing the chance that it was going to figure in here. When she didn’t play it, I figured she was going home, so I was shocked when all the votes went to Spencer, proving that Taj has more pull in the alliance than it seemed. She knew she was safe as she never felt the need to play the Idol or get it back from Stephen
To stay on top of it, though, Taj and Stephen need to really make sure Jalapao gets immunity next week, to make it an even five on each side heading into the merge and to not get that close again, and to retain their Idol. If Brendan can dispel Tyson’s bad feelings about him and increase the pressure on Coach or Erinn, that will do the same for them as well. The best bet might be to send two people other than the Exile Alliance to exile, two people that it would hurt much more. Brendan and Sierra need to send Sydney, and Taj and Stephen need to send Deb. They’re on the outer fringes of any alliance and least likely to discover their plan, and would be hurt tremendously without the face time in their tribes. Or they need to make sure Brendan stays this time. and Sierra and Stephen go, since their names aren’t in danger yet.
It’s all of that strategy that will keep it interesting, and as long as the editing keeps us guessing, it’ll be all the better. However, we’ll be without the show next week, because of March Madness, and when it returns it’ll air on Wednesday March 25th. If you get lost in all that, remember there’s safety in numbers as this little guy seems to be having a hard time figuring it out as well.
Photo courtesy of cbs.com