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Survivor: Cagayan: Ep 7 – A Series Of Unfortunate Strategic Moves

Somewhere the best Survivor players in the first 27 seasons of the game were collectively cringing as this season’s pivotal merge Tribal Council unfolded. Surely they were entertained, but boy, they were probably thinking that if only they got to return this season to join this cast, they’d have an easy run to the end. Imagine some of the better strategist who never won – Rob C, Stephen, and many others – taking on this lot.

Oh, and I know, I’m late, I’m sorry, I have good reasons, yada yada, I’m doing the best I can.

Forget most everything that led up to the Tribal. We had a fun endurance challenge, the feast, and the news that a new special idol has been hidden in the merge camp. That’s all well and good. But this episode was all about the Tribal and the madness that ensued.

To refresh your memory, after last week’s quit from Lindsay and ouster of Alexis, we have the Brains/Beauty/Sarah tribe at 6, and the Brawn/Beauty/Pitbull tribe at 5. If everything holds, we have a clear winner at Tribal. However, Sarah has become the wild card swing vote. And she managed to mangle that status. On Survivor, if you are the swing vote, you need to manage it carefully. If you mess it up, you’re doomed. The best thing to do is to pick a side and try and weasel your way into a solid sub-alliance. Make your requests for staying on that side – and then just go along with things.

If you push too hard, you’ll be the bottom of the alliance and get voted out a la Cochran in South Pacific as soon as there is numbers breathing room. If you waver too much, you’ll risk the alliance finding another number, and you’ll risk invoking the ire of the other side and become their target. You also risk blowing any chance you have at jury votes if you screw folks over, and do it in grand fashion.

Which brings us to this Tribal. And the way Sarah went from potentially being in a great spot to being the first jury member. And how incredibly lucky the Pitbull team is that Trish is out there paying attention.

Sarah’s mistake – She wavered too much. Way too much. She needed to tell Pitbull right away that she was not going to flip. This would have given them time to find another target – perhaps Jeremiah. Also, she pushed too hard. Surely, she could give her alliance a suggested target – but if they were not in agreement, just ease back on the throttle. Remember Sandra’s plan – anyone but you. What does it matter if the vote goes to Pitbull, LJ or Jefra? It’s not you, and it gives your team a 6-4 lead in the individual game. Her insistence on voting for Pitbull was one of the ways she got under Kass’ skin.

And if you are clashing with someone on your team – and it was clear she was – tone it down. Give a fake apology and be nice to that person. Or else, you get what happened.

Trish noticed the two women fighting. Kass didn’t like getting bossed around – and there was some deeply rooted resentment to authority in there, so it seemed. So she was pushing back hard – and as we saw early in the season, Kass has not mastered the art of shutting the hell up. She reveals too much about her strategy and her thoughts – which is great in some aspects in life, but it is horrible on Survivor.

With this fracture in place, Trish took the initiative to court Kass. And it surprisingly took very little to get it done. We didn’t even see Kass offered anything. And just like that, power has shifted.

Let’s look at what Kass managed to do – she was potentially in a strong FInal Four position. All the Brains needed was one of the other three to slot into an end game alliance – Sarah, Jeremiah and Morganna. Kass just had to endure a personality clash with Sarah to get to the end – and then vote her out at the end. Three weeks to have a shot at million dollars. That’s it.

ANd what does she get for giving up that position? Nothing. She’s sixth in a six-person group. She’ll be voted out in two weeks at this rate. Boom. That’s it. It is possible that she flips back this week and makes it a Purple Rock 5-5 tie situation, but even that is crazy in its own right. EIther way, she can’t win this season. No one is going to vote for her – she may get to the end for this reason, but she’s done. And she could have won in the finals against Spencer or Tasha – but that’s it. Just because she couldn’t either keep her mouth shut, or see the forest for the trees.

And I am not letting Pitbull and LJ off the hook for their stupidity. Both men had idols – and both burned them for no reason. Pitbull announced that he had one at Tribal when he believed, rightfully so, that he was the target. That should have been enough to scare off votes – but Spencer wanted to see it. Nice move. And Pitbull obliged. Not a great move, but fine, nothing horrible. THe vote is verbally moved to the “other one” and so Pitbull is likely very safe. Meanwhile, another plan could have been to shut up and play the idol. All six votes on him fail. But that didn’t happen.

So what to do? Keep it or give it away. He gives it to LJ who he believes is the other one – something way too obvious. At this point you are just guessing, but I’d never have guessed LJ. I knew it was going to Jefra just because I’ve watched this show before. But whatever, he did that and now LJ is safe.

But then LJ, knowing he’s safe, goes and gives his idol to Pitbull…who we know is safe because the vote was going to the “other one!” Did he think the other one was code for let’s trick LJ into giving up his idol, even though we think he doesn’t have one because Sarah is the worst at noticing things? Either way, now both idols are played – given by one person to the other, which is bizarre – and neither were needed.

And this team is now in power.

While this was fun to watch the madness take place, it really just pissed me off to see bad game play rewarded. I’ve been liking this season so far, but I will admit I am not looking forward to the next four weeks of seeing Spencer, Tasha, Morganna and Jeremiah picked off if we go that way. And I can’t see anyone on the dominant tribe who is really deserving of the prize right now. I like Pitbull and LJ. Trish is playing well. Wooooooo! and Jefra are just kind of there. Kass doesn’t deserve it now. Who to root for?

Meh – I’m all for a good crazy Tribal, but I also want it shake out in such a way that makes the end episodes exciting and fun. I am currently a bit skeptical we will get that.

Treemail Top 10
1 – Boy, you think the editors were loving Sarah’s ample quotes to set up her downfall? “As long as nobody flips”
2 – Kass – The best laid plans are often found laid out on the murder scene floor. Yep, except you are the killer, not the cop in this scenario.
3 – Kass wanted Sarah to have “blood on her hands” from her former tribe before she trusted her. Meanwhile, Sarah through Pitbull out as a vote target. This was all personality conflict – which is a terrible way to play Survivor.
4 – I love how Spencer proved his fandom by not assuming the merge – he remembers Thailand and the fake merge.
5 – Spencer also gave the editing some fodder with his “I’m in the driver’s seat” line.
6 – The 13-year-old in my head is dying to make jokes about the “Sarah Sandwich.”
7 – I got so mad when Kass wondered who made Sarah queen. The 6-5 merge did. And her reign didn’t have to last more than this vote if you could just see it. Ugh.
8 – Tasha tried to peacemake – she even truthfully said that this vote decides fate. It did – it immediately sealed Sarah’s fate, and it will seal Kass’ too.
9 – Challenge – the balance endurance challenge. Triangles floating on the water, with footholds. The last one is to stand on top and essentially surf to the win. Thankfully there are no surfers on this season, which would make it too easy to predict who will…what’s that? There is a surfer. Oh. So. Clearly that’s that. They all essentially fall off the surfboard instantly, with Woooooooo! outlasting them all for the win.
10 – There are bats on that island! All will be forgiven if Kass captures some bats and we get to watch them eat bat.

Votes – Sarah 6 (Pitbull, Woooooo!, Trish, Jefra, LJ, Kass), Jefra 5 (Spencer, Tasha, Jeremiah, Morganna, Sarah)

Next week – Fallout. And a mad treasure hunt for the magic idol.

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