OK. That’s two weeks in a row of some wild vote scrambling – perhaps there is hope for this season yet. I am hopeful that we have put the Hulka/Brandon wackiness in our rearview mirrors and that this season is going to sprint to the finish with some craziness. If we learned anything this week, it is this.
1 – Malcolm has brass.
2 – Dawn is the ultimate spy because no one seems to ever suspect her.
3 – Women need to stay clear of Eddie and Reynold – for reasons other than being themselves.
4 – Andrea and Eddie are very awkward flirts.
5 – Cochran is going to win this game if things continue at this pace.
Let’s go from the top down. Malcolm is cementing a place among the Survivor annals of most popular players to never win the game. There are many who fit the category – Ozzy, Coach, Rob C, Rupert, Amanda, even Russell. Malcolm has done back to back seasons and has charmed his way through both of them. Last season, he was one immunity away from the victory – and he had a great story arc. He came into this season an unknown quantity among the fans AND the favorites – the last time something like that occurred, Russell ambushed the HvV field. You would think they would all be wary of this guy, who got added to the cast for a reason.
But they haven’t and here he is on the jury no matter what happens the rest of the way. I will have to say that Malcolm needs some more magic to survive much longer, but he has done wonders so far. This week, he chose to double down on his Corinne/AMC plan which crashed and burned last week with Corinne’s ouster. Instead of throwing it all on Corinne, what we viewed was Malcolm trying to revive the dying embers of that plan. He still had the AMC, but with Lord Snow rather than Erik. However, that’ still a 7-4 deficit. He needed two votes. The problem is – he went to the wrong places.
The right move for him would be to gobble up Erik and Brenda – who have always been on the fringes of the Stealths. All he had to do was tell them that it was a Final 3 alliance – and that no one else is willing to give them one. He could have gotten his six. Instead, he went to Sherri – his logic being that she was really an Alliance of One at this point. However, her bad blood with the rest of AMC founding members made her an impossible add for the group. Then he went to Dawn. More on that in a bit.
Malcolm’s instincts for two seasons have been pretty great – other than the Dawn misstep – and nowhere was that on display more than at Tribal. After The Specialist’s speech – one of the few times he wasn’t referencing Redemption Island – Malcolm realized something was amiss. Now, was this a brilliant sub-strategy of Phillip to scare Malcolm into making a mistake? I doubt it. I think Phillip was just running off at the mouth.
So Malcolm, got spooked. He threw a vote at Reynold – for some reason – but that wasn’t the big deal. Reynold felt it was time to play his idol – which is interesting for another reason, since they thought it was going to be their blindside of Andrea or a Stealth split vote between Eddie/Reynold. That means that Reynold was ready to sell out his buddy right there. But even THAT is not the big deal.
Malcolm stopped him and theorized that Phillip’s speech about loyalty, etc. was all about Malcolm. He thought the votes went against him. He asked Reynold for the idol and Reynold amazingly gave it to him. It turns out he was wrong, but imagine if he was right! The best part is that Malcolm had an idol in his pocket and instead of using it actually convinced a grown man to hand it over three steps away from using it for himself. Incredible.
The Tribal was a boon for the Stealths as they peeled off another fan with the vote, flushed out an idol, AND forced one of their own to reveal his duplicity. If this was planned, then boy, that’s a hell of a good plan. However, I think the Malcolm reveal was a total accident. Still, a good plan.
Meanwhile, it is the Dawn Factor which came into play again. For three weeks in a row, a Survivor has come to Dawn to confide in her and each time she has turned around and given the information to the Stealths to use against that person. Julia was first, then Corinne, and now Malcolm. Is it possible that no one knows about Dawn and Cochran’s sub-alliance within the Redemption Island/South Pacific four-way sub-alliance? Is it Dawn’s ever-teetering game mental health that draws people to thinking of her as a wild card vote? I think it is more Dawn’s South Pacific reputation that has put her in that spot. People trust her based on that season and not what they see before their very eyes.
Note to players – STOP TALKING TO DAWN!
The Fan members of the AMC alliance mentioned that all women associated with them in this game get voted off – Allie, Hope, Julia, Corinne. Women beware. And not just the frat boy immaturity. If you hang with these guys – you will disappear and be taken to a secluded CBS hideaway for several days.
Speaking of Eddie, was that lagoon courtship with Andrea one of the oddest and most awkward flirtations you’ve seen on TV? First of all, flirting with knives needs to be left to the folks at Game of Thrones, or Spartacus. It was weird to see Andrea bat her eyelashes at him while brandishing a machete. And it was not exactly poetry being exchanged. It was like keg pumping banter. Which I think is the only style of flirting the lug has in him.
Amazingly, it was only Eddie’s bumbling conversation with Andrea that saved Andrea at the vote. He revealed everything. He revealed Reynold’s idol, he revealed Malcolm’s duplicity, he revealed that Andrea was the name they were voting for. And he did it all by accident. If he hadn’t spoken, the Stealths would have voted for Malcolm, who would have played Reynold’s idol, and Andrea’s three votes would send her packing.
Meanwhile, Cochran is playing to win and a huge part of it was his teaming with Dawn. He has a partner, and most great Survivor wins started with a two-person core alliance which took those players to the end – or at least rather close to the end. Hatch/Rudy. Tina/Colby. Romber. Tom/Ian. Yul/Becky. Earl/Cassandra. Todd/Courtney. JT/Stephen. Russell/Natalie. Blair/Scoopin’. And there are others. Stealth R Us may be ridiculous, but at its core, it is an alliance of four with extra members for number dominance. If no one really makes a move soon, when it gets to the F7 – this core four will take it to the end. And how much trust do you have in the AMC to break that? Or Brenda to make a move – she hasn’t even spoken yet!
And as for Cochran – if he gets to the end, well, he has friends. How much do they cheer him when he does well? People like him. The little guy may be a couple of votes away from the end game and a potential win. Amazing.