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Survivor: Caramoan – Ep 11 – A Million Dollars Or A Bucket of Buds?

My favorite episode of any season which features it – the Survivor Auction. This coming on the heels of the wacky ousting of Phillip last week makes it four great episodes in a row. It is really funny how FvF2 is mirroring FvF1 by having a fairly uneven to poor series of early episodes – featuring some unpleasant characters (Brandon, Big Joel, etc) – leading up to pure insanity at the merge. Who knew when it was 8-4 Faves at the Merge that three of the four next boots would be Faves…and that they would still have a stranglehold on the game? And yet, here we are.

I expect that the next two votes will be a bit more straightforward – with a 6-2 advantage on the vote, the Stealths are poised to reach the end. Barring an immunity win and the discovery of the HII, expect the remaining members of the AMC to be on the chopping block this week. Let me also say – how are Reynold and Eddie still in this game? They have been in the minority alliance since the game started. Thirty days later and they are still lingering.

This week’s episode rotated around the Auction – nothing before it was of much note, and everything that happened after was related to what went down at the Auction. In the pre-auction scenes, the one thing of note was that Brenda got some attention for once. It was for crying and an unexpected fear of what the AMC was capable of doing – but it was attention nonetheless. Note to Brenda – despite the last Tribal, there is only so much a group of three out of nine can do without help.

So, let’s go to the Auction. In recent Auctions, they have had one item to help a player at the next immunity challenge. It is an imperative for someone on the bottom to acquire. In fact, Majority Alliances should draw straws or something and assign someone to outbid the minority on this advantage. Let’s call it the Danni Rule. Danni wins Guatemala because she bought that advantage, enabling her to break the Majority Alliance. Just give up the snacks and win immunity.

Of course, there is a flip side to that. If you are in the minority, you are not bidding on ANYTHING until you can get that advantage. Just don’t. You will eat burgers and pizza in nine days – likely less. Just hang in there and get your clue. Unless you don’t want to win, in which case, feel free to buy yourself some snacks.

Let’s do the Auction step by step – and keep in mind. This is edited. There may have been several other items not seen, and it could have been presented to the Survivors in a different order. First item up – a beer and peanuts. First one to offer $20 bucks gets it. Twenty bucks for a beer? Is this Survivor: Midtown Manhattan? Anyway, Malcolm’s boozing beats his desire to win Survivor as he throws away $20 for the beer. He proves his skills by chugging it in front of Probst. It’s a great idea for one battling dehydration to down alcohol that quickly (although, it is possible this is O’Douls, but unlikely). As a bonus he gets a bucket of beers and pretzels – because what Malcolm needs right now is to get liquored up and loses his judgment.

Next item – It is covered. Erik considers it, but Reynold buys it for $180. Another poor decision from the AMC – Rey sure doesn’t need immunity or anything. Probst channels Monty Hall and offers up two other covered items and asks Rey to decide which one he wants. Cochran begins to explain the math and probability, but that ain’t the way Reynold bros down. He elects not to switch. The first item revealed is a rotten coconut. Good call. If Reynold used Cochran’s advice, now would be the time to switch. He doesn’t. He earns a slice of pizza. If he switched, he would have gotten the rest of the pie. Sherri incredibly offers up all her money for the pie. She gets it and is out of the auction. Why would she offer all her money? Why not just say, for $200 (a bit more than what Reynold paid), she would take it? I blame lack of food for lack of judgment.

Item Number 3 – A roasted chicken. Dawn freaks out and spends all of her money! WHY? Have these people never seen an auction? Granted, that’s a lot of needed protein – but seriously, do some bidding! She is now out of the challenge – I am sure she won’t regret that later. Just make sure you eat all of that chicken – even the butt.

Item 4 – Probst calls it information. Malcolm offers his full $480 remaining. Incredibly, Erik, Cochran, Brenda and Andrea let him have it. Hopefully Sherri is enjoying that pizza. It is a clue to a new HII – he gets one minute to read it and memorize it.

Item 5 – Another covered item. Brenda is in tears and is afraid to bid on the blind item. Andrea is not. She buys it for $280. It is spaghetti, garlic bread and wine. Yum. However, she is offered the chance of giving it up for a bag of rice and a bag of beans for camp. There is no way you can say no to that if you a) want to avoid getting voted out and b) expect any of these starving people to vote for you. She takes the bags.

Item 6 – The Immunity Challenge Advantage. NOW is the time to blurt out $500 if you want to, but amazingly, no one does. Eddie has all of his money (we assume) and Reynold has $320. Cochran bids it up to $340 to take out Reynold, but Eddie does not beat Cochran. I really hope Eddie spent some cash on something we did not see or else he is actually dumber than I ever thought possible.

Item 7 – Covered item. Brenda is daring now. She spends $300 and gets busted – a big ole plate of cow brains. She takes a bite and has a bizarre exchange with Probst. She “just remembered” she doesn’t eat pork. She asks Probst if pig brains is good for you – he has no idea. I would add that it probably isn’t – and that we have all probably eaten some form of pig brains on a bun with mustard at the baseball park. Amirite?

Item 8 – Covered item. Eddie appears now and buys it for $200. My theory works here – somewhere unseen, Eddie spent some money and could not bid on the advantage. I have no proof, but I want to believe that for Eddie’s sake. He gets a big bowl of peanut butter to share with the tribe. Malcolm is amazed at how they got all of that into the bowl. I don’t think they used Jif, Malcolm. Someone was in the back brewing some Survivor brand nut butter. They have a minute to eat and smear – whatever is on their bodies when time runs out can be saved. Later on they pool their haul and save for later.

So, coming out of the Auction – Cochran blocked the AMC from an immunity edge, Malcolm has a shot at another HII, and Dawn got a big ole pile of protein. Everyone else – I don’t get it.

The results – Cochran uses the advantage to win his second immunity – he has now won half of them. Malcolm gets up in the middle of the night and digs – but cannot find it in the dark. Andrea spots him and becomes his shadow preventing him from continuing. He tries to bluff and say that he has it – but the fact that she found him there means that he hadn’t found it. That’s a much more difficult bluff to sell.

The Stealths have a decision to make – go all in with their votes, or split it again. The big risk in splitting the vote is that one defector – or Tyson-like voter – ruins it all. Going all in with six votes on one guy is a risk only if there is an HII in play. They chose to split between Reynold and Malcolm. Presumably, they chose this because of Malcolm’s smarts and Reynold’s ability to toss things, and Eddie’s ability to…um…not sure. They don’t realize that the AMC is trying to lure Erik and Sherri over to their side.

I am completely amazed that Sherri didn’t bite on the sales pitch. I mean, fifth place! How could she hold back? The correct play for Malcolm here is to forge a F3 alliance with Erik and Sherri in order to win them over. It would be – forgive me Phillip – quite the Boston Rob move. Malcolm also didn’t realize how much Sherri did not care for the other AMC members. Meanwhile, depending on Erik for strategy is a sure way to be ruined on Survivor. Erik is playing a Fabio-type of game – riding the power waves for a while until very few are left.

So, the Sleaths split their vote and force a 3-3-3 tie between Malcolm, Reynold and Andrea. Malcolm’s charm and boldness was more of a threat to them than Reynold’s physicality – and all votes went his way. Malcolm has departed and has become rather popular. In fact, I think only Cochran is a real threat to him for Fan Favorite. He played a better game last season – I think he got too antsy this season and made his move too soon – but Malcolm was a real character and will be missed.

Now, with the 6-2 advantage – the Stealths are poised to run. There is a chance for some shenanigans with the last AMC members if they want. Perhaps now is the time for three of them to bolt with the two guys and form a new majority. More than likely is that the six stay steady and we get a break at the F6. After these last four eps, I can’t wait.

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