Category Archives: Survivor

Survivor: General Commentary – I’ve Got Your Memorable Women Right Here

Just a quick add to the pre-season commentary – Jeff Probst gave an interview to this week regarding the new season. With three more returning players – Russell Swan, Jonathan Penner and Michael Skupin – we have now had nine returnees (not in FvF, All-Stars or HvV) in show history, with only Steph in Guatemala lacking a Y chromosome. When asked about it, Probst basically implied – and watch the interview for yourselves – that they have used up all of the memorable Survivor women. He did say that Parvati, Cirie, Amanda, etc. have been on the show multiple times already, and they would welcome them back again. His concern is that the women are not able to carry the show’s narrative (paraphrasing here) as well as the men.

Now, I just disagree with that. First of all, in my preview I talked a bit about the options they would have using this season’s premise. Not a lot of women were evacuated or quit for any good reason. The only one was Jenna Morasca – and she would have been perfect for this season, with the only strike against her being her previous win. In addition, there have been scores of women who have either been odd characters, polarizing figures or flat out great players and who would carry a season quite well.

Probst’s comments led me to think about the inevitable answer – an All-Stars men vs. women season. Let’s go to the map and start casting – Season 25 is not eligible as we have no idea who is going to be good or bad here.

Men – Point to Probst – the bench is a bit deeper here. For the list, we add anyone and everyone who fits the categories – odd character, polarizing figure, great players – without concern of multiple appearances or anything else:

Hatch, Rudy, Gervase, Colby, Keith, Rodger, Skupin, Ethan, Lex, Big Tom, Frank, Silas, Paschal, Sean, John, Boston Rob, Brian, Robb, Matthew, Rob C, Roger, Fairplay, Burton, Rupert, Savage, Chris, Chad, Rory, Tom, Ian, Coby, Bobby Jon, Palau James, Rafe, Judd, Gary, Jamie, Aras, Terry, Shane, Yul, Ozzy, Jonathan, Cao Boi, Earl, Yau-Man, Todd, James, Jean Robert, FvF Erik, Bob, Matty, Randy, Marcus, JT, Stephen, Coach, Tyson, Russell, Jaison, Samoa Erik, Swan, Danger Dave, Fabio, Sash, Chase, Marty, Jimmy Johnson, Philip, Mike, Matt, Ralph, Albert, Brandon Hantz, Cochran, Jim, Tarzan, Troyzan, Colton.

If we go with the true Top 10 men – Boston Rob, Fairplay, Hatch, Colby, Rupert, James, Yau, JT, Ozzy, Coach. They all had good finishes – either via physicality or strategy. All have charisma and all are interesting either in likability or in outrageousness. All could carry a season. That would be ideal – however, Rob has already gone four times. Rupert, James, Coach and Ozzy three times each. Colby three times – plus he has his own show. Fairplay is persona non grata now. That leaves Hatch, Yau and JT as potential realistic choices for a gender war all-star, if we don’t want to add more four timers, or a five timer. All three have gone twice already – but Hatch and Yau departed rather early their second time around. Frankly, Hatch could use the cash. JT has a big Russell Hantz love letter to live down too.

The rest all hit at least one of the criteria – and as much as a big fan would love to see some obscure returnees like Danger Dave, Burton, Silas, etc. come back, let’s assume that they wouldn’t go there. I’ll also eliminate anyone else who has gone three times. And some others have issues that would leave them out – Rudy is friggin old now. Heck, he was old 12 years ago. Ethan has been rather ill. Brian had that porno controversy and isn’t all that popular (although he played one of the best games in show history), and Jimmy Johnson wasn’t all that interesting his first time around. And others have issues as well. I see this likely group of 16 to fill the last seven male slots – Matthew, Rob C, Savage, Chris, Ian, Coby, Terry, Shane, Yul, Earl, Todd, Jean Robert, Stephen, Matt, Cochran, Colton.

Only Rob has come back for a second go-around from this group, and he ran head first into another Rob’s mastery. I would like to see excellence rewarded – physical and mental – so filling some of those seven slots are Rob, Terry, Yul, Chris, Stephen, Todd. That leaves one slot for one of the characters – I cut it down to Coby, Shane, Cochran or Colton. I would probably pick Cochran from that group, but I can see the show going with Colton.
Women – same rules apply.

Kelly, Sue, Colleen, Jenna L, Gretchen, Tina, Elisabeth, Amber, Jerri, Alicia, Kim J, Lindsey, Vecepia, Neleh, Kathy, Tammy, Helen, Erin, Shii Ann, Ghandia, Jenna M, Heidi, Christy, Deena, Sandra, Lill, Christa, Twila, Scout, Ami, Julie, Eliza, Katie, Steph, Angie, Danni, Danielle, Cirie, Exile Courtney, Sally, Becky, Parvati, Candice, Cassandra, Stacey, Michelle, China Courtney, Amanda, Peih-Gee, FvF Natalie, Tracy, Susie, Sugar, Corinne, Erinn, Taj, Sierra, Sydney, Samoa Natalie, Shambo, Monica, Holly, Jane, Brenda, Kelly B, RI Natalie, Ashley, Andrea, Sophie, Whitney, Dawn, Kim, Sabrina, Chelsea, Cha, Alicia, Kat.

If we went for the Top 10 best female players – Sandra, Kim, Parvati, Amanda, Steph, Jenna M, Cirie, Kelly, Jerri, Kathy. Again, the bench is deeper with the men, but the top of the ticket women are rather impressive. It is difficult to fill out a top 10 of no-brainers – but there are plenty who either dominated the game, were amusing to watch or were fascinating to watch. Of this group – Parvati, Amanda, Steph, Jerri and Cirie have all gone three times. And I will say this – I don’t think we have used up the interest in Cirie and Parvati on Survivor. Parvati has become fascinating to watch. I thought she was nothing the first time around. Then she was brilliant when she won. What impressed me was that shortly after that season, she came back and almost won again. With Cirie – she arguably dominated two seasons (co-dominated with Parvati in S16) and failed to win. Her win in FvF was denied because of the sudden change to a Final Two that season, presumably due to all of the injury evacs. I would be ok with them returning for a fourth time. But for these purposes – they are out.

Sandra, Kathy and Jenna have all gone twice. I can be certain that Sandra has retired with the record of the only one to go two for two in Survivor wins. Kathy was compelling on a forgotten season (Marquesas), and was a victim of Lex getting played by Rob in All-Stars. Jenna had to leave too soon in All-Stars – her second time barely counts. So, I add to the gender wars – Jenna and Kathy. Kim has to be there. She was perfect last season. And I don’t know what’s up with Kelly – but the last few episodes of the first season was all about Kelly’s betrayal of her alliance, and her clutch immunity streak. The rat deserves another shot – especially if the snake is in the mix.

So, who to join Jenna, Kathy, Kim and Kelly? Elisabeth is clearly out – she’s got a pretty good View gig. The rest of the ladies have an interesting mix of great finishes (and wins), outrageous behavior, incredible good looks (let’s be honest – that matters on Survivor), and few have gone multiple times. For argument sake, and to show Probst there are some good women out there – we’ll go a step further than the men and take out all of whom have played twice, which takes out some of my favorites like Courtney, Eliza and Sugar.

To fill the last six slots, I’ll narrow it down to this group of 18 – Colleen, Vecepia, Christy, Katie, Danni, Peih-Gee, FvF Natalie, Corinne, Samoa Natalie, Shambo, Holly, Brenda, Ashley, Andrea, Sophie, Dawn, Alicia, Kat. Let’s agree to take only two winners – and I take Sophie and Danni. So, that leaves four more slots. Colleen will never come back. So, let’s not hold our breath. I think we go with a nice mix. We have some real villains in here – FvF Natalie, Corinne, Alicia. We have some clowns – Kat, Katie. We have some underrated Survivors who get beaten by the numbers game – Dawn, Peih-Gee. Some gorgeous women – Andrea, Ashley, Brenda, Natalie. We have some characters – Holly, Shambo. And a feel good story – Christy. I can’t take one from each group – so I’ll take Corinne, Kat, Peih-Gee, and Brenda. Brenda over Holly in a squeaker – Brenda had some strategy game, she just got arrogant. Holly finished well, but would have been a quitter if not for Coach Johnson.

So, that gives us this Battle of the Sexes – and I predict right now, this premise is coming soon.
Hatch, Yau-Man, JT, Rob C, Terry, Yul, Chris, Stephen, Todd, Colton
Jenna M, Kathy, Kim, Kelly, Sophie, Danni, Corinne, Kat, Peih-Gee, Brenda

Tell me this is not a compelling season of Survivor? And tell me that this group of women cannot hold their own with that group of men? I know that I’d watch it, no matter which one of the 20 of them winds up the top of the heap.

And for the record- my All-Star All-Star season would rock –
Boston Rob, Fairplay, Hatch, Colby, Rupert, James, Yau, JT, Ozzy, Coach
Sandra, Kim, Parvati, Amanda, Steph, Jenna M, Cirie, Kelly, Jerri, Kathy

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Survivor Philippines: Looking Ahead

Survivor:  The Philippines hasn’t even started yet and it’s already looking like an interesting season.  For those of you who haven’t seen the cast list, there will be three tribes this season, each with a group of six.  The Matsing Tribe will have Russell Swan (45), Angie Layton (20), Malcolm Freberg (25), Zane Knight (28), Roxanne Morris (28), and Denise Stapley (41).  The Tandang Tribe will consist of Michael Skupin (50), Lisa Whelchel (49), Artis Silvester (53), Abi-Maria Gomes (32), Roberta Saint-Amour (27), and Pete Yurkowski (24).  The Kalabaw Tribe will have John Penner (50), Jeff Kent (44), Sarah Dawson (28), Katie Hanson (22), Carter Williams (24), Dana Lambert (32).

It’s already been said that the producers decided to use three tribes this season in the hopes of preventing five-person alliances that were formed on the first day from dominating the season.  From over here, it looks like “Mission accomplished.”  The only way  such an alliance could take over is to completely dominate the Immunity Challenges– and that will probably be easier said than done.  On a traditional nine-person tribe, the alliance would have plenty of wiggle room, as they could lose up to four Immunity Challenges before they started having to eat their own. A five-person alliance on a tribe of six would end up cannibalizing itself after the second loss.

Then there’s the tribal swap to think about.  Let’s say Penner’s tribe is the dominating one, as they’ve got Jeff the ball-player.  At the swap they’ve got all six people, and five of them have formed an alliance,  while the other two tribes are down to five and four people.  As a result of the swap, Penner’s tribe is split into thirds, with two members apiece on the new tribes.  In order to have a shot of staying in the game, they will have to form new alliances with at least one other person.  Whether they can do this depends on who their new tribe mates are and how well they get along with them.  Penner can be snarky and Sarah has admitted to the same trait.  They need to be with people who like that type of humor; otherwise, they could be in trouble.  Dana has admitted to having never swum in the ocean before; if she blows a water-based challenge for her tribe, don’t expect her to linger.  Given all this, it doesn’t seem likely that a five-person alliance formed on the first day will make it to the merge, much less to the end.  Even if three or four members of such an alliance end up together after a swap, they still won’t be able to protect allies on the other tribes.

On the other hand, an elder alliance could easily form.  Of the eighteen contestants, nine are over thirty — and it stretches probability to think they will all be early boots.  At least some of them will make it to the merge.  Michael’s tribe could actually start off with an elder alliance in place as he, Artis, and Lisa are all over forty.  To ensure their control over the tribe, they will need just one more person.  This could bode ill for Pete, who is the “baby” of the tribe and a wanna-be alpha male.  If he butts heads with his elders, he could find himself voted off much earlier than he expects.  In fact, all three tribes seem to have at least one strong older male on them, which makes this an unpromising season for the younger guys– at least for the ones who fantasize about running things.

For an elder alliance to control things after the merge, at least six of them would have to get there.  The three returnees, Jeff, and Artis all look as if they have the physical prowess to get to the merge.  Penner can annoy people, but he is also fairly smart and should know enough to dial down the attitude.  To take control, these five men would need to work together and with Denise, Lisa, Abi-Maria, and/or Dana, depending on which of these are left.  It’s also admittedly possible that either of the two thirty-somethings would throw in with the younger crowd.

Russell’s tribe looks like the most problematic.  It consists of him and fellow elder Denise, the wanna-be alpha male, Malcolm, two Holy-Rollers, Roxanne and Zane, plus Angie, the youngest of the cast.  If this doesn’t sound like a combustible mixture I don’t know what does.  The fact that Roxanne and Zane both list Brandon Hantz as their favorite Survivor could mean they will be very out-spoken about their faith.  Unless the others are similarly religious, they could drive their tribe-mates nuts.  It also probably means that neither would know strategy if it was staring them in the face– and will howl with righteous indignation when they are back-stabbed and sent packing.  (I kind of wish the producers would stop casting uber-religious people, as they almost always have trouble accepting the reality that playing Survivor well will inevitably mean that they will have to violate their principles.  Vecepia, the winner of Season 4, was one of the few who understood and accepted that.)

Penner’s chances strike me as the diciest of the returnees, given his attitude and his mouth.  By contrast, Russell and Michael were fairly nice guys, if I remember correctly.   Penner could annoy his way off his tribe– or he could set himself up as the guide or the team dad and go deep as a result.  If he’s lucky, he’ll get a tribe full of fans and enjoy the deferential treatment that Boston Rob and Coach got during their return engagements.  (I do like Penner, but watching him on T.V. is probably very different from having to put up with him 24/7.)

Other likely irritants will be Roxanne, Zane, Malcolm, Pete and Sarah.  Their fates will be determined by how well they perform in challenges and around camp and by how disruptive they are.  Tribes keep people based on perceived usefulness and on their ability to play well with others.  During the tribal phase, the weak and the annoying are often targeted first.  At this point, it’s hard to pick out obvious weaklings, although Angie and Roxanne do look as if they’re the thinnest women– which means they will have no reserves to fall back on if food turns out to be scarce.  The thinner or more muscular guys could face similar problems.  Muscular people tend also to have fast metabolisms– which is a drawback in this game.  I’ve read somewhere that Penner made a point of actually gaining weight for this game, so he would have reserves.  Smart man.

Let the game begin.

Survivor: Philippines – Preview – You Take the Good You Take The Bad

Welcome back from a long summer Probstphiles, we are in for the first Quarter Quell (Hunger Games Spoiler Alert within) in Survivor History. Season 25 leaves the comfort of Samoa and Nicaragua for the first time in a very long time – in fact, Season 18 in Tocachins was the last time the show ventured anywhere else. But here we are in the Philippines. Fun personal story – this one pretty much describes the lack of attention I gave to my studies in college. I had to write a research paper in my senior year on American imperialism in the Philippines. I procrastinated through a beer-stained haze for many weeks and did my usual last second cram to bang it out. However, in the days before spell check (yeah, I am that old), I wrote about American imperialism in the Philappeans. That’s right. All over the paper, the cover page, everywhere, I misspelled the place the paper was about. Still got a C+ somehow.

Anyway, the show returns with some stunt casting and a new way of bringing back some old friends. Following in the footsteps of Rob/Russell and Coach/Ozzy, the show now brings back three former players. However, instead of iconic players such as those four, we go more conceptual. There have been several Survivors whose adventure was cut short thanks to an injury or illness, but not because of a choice to quit. This season, three of them get another shot at the prize. Over the years, these players have been evacuated from the show:
• Season 2 – Michael fell into the campfire
• Season 8 – Jenna quit to see her dying mother (I count this one)
• Season 8 – Sue quit after accusing Richard of sexual abuse (yeah, I’ll count it too)
• Season 12 – Bruce had intestinal blockage
• Season 14 – Gary had allergies to many bug bites
• Season 16 – Jonathan punctured his leg
• Season 16 – Kathy started to have a breakdown
• Season 16 – James sliced open his finger
• Season 18 – Joe injured his leg
• Season 19 – Mike had a concussion
• Season 19 – Russell passed out from dehydration
• Season 24 – Kourtney broke her arm
• Season 24 – Colton had intestinal issues

Of this group, many of the candidates for return are not really all that interesting. Does anyone even remember much of Gary and S19 Mike? Last season’s injuries happened to recently for production, or else surely Colton would be back. The only ones I think would have been deserving of return for varying reasons would be – Michael, Jenna, Jonathan, Bruce, James, and Russell. And I have had enough of James – much less a fourth go-around. Lucky for the show, they got three of the other five to come back. As much as I would like to see Jenna come back – her All-Stars return ended too soon and for tragic reasons – she did win already, so it is not too awful to have her stay home with Ethan. And Bruce was cool, but not all that memorable.

What we get are the returns of Michael Skupin, Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner to the beaches of Survivor. Cool. All three really got screwed by their injuries – especially Skupin and Swan. If you recall back to Australia, we were heading for the merge and Skupin’s Kucha tribe was in the lead and poised to go to the merge up 6-4. This was the second season and the Pagonging of Pagong in Season 1 was repeated this season (with the exception of the ousting of Jerri in the middle of the S2 Pagonging) post-merge. It is safe to say that if Kucha led 6-4, Ogakor would have been decimated. Colby would be a footnote, and Top Shot would be hosted by Rudy. Amber would not have been on All-Stars, and Rob would be married to Kim Powers. And Skupin would be a million dollars richer.

In Samoa, Russell Hantz dominated that season and became a CBS reality show franchise. However, after the first few episodes, it was Russell Swan who was poised. He was the clear leader of Galu, and Hantz’ sabotage of his own tribe had led to a massive Galu lead before Swan passed out during a challenge and scared the living beejeezus out of Probst. Galu went to the merge leaderless, but up 8-4. Swan would never have let the mutiny on Erik happen and at that first merge vote, Natalie would have been gone, and I think Swan would have been in great shape to move on (unless he became the target of Hantz’ 2nd idol, and was unable to prevent that blindside).

Penner is another story. Let me just say, first and foremost, that I am an unabashed Penner fan. He is up with Boston Rob as two of my favorite Survivors ever. He played one of the most interesting games of Survivor ever in Cook Islands – where he was both hero and villain from certain points of view of the viewer. And hated by all members of both tribes. What was incredible was that it all came down to a split second decision when he mutinied with Candice. To me, the villain there and in the season was always Candice, not Jonathan. But she got brought back as a Hero in S20. Go figure. Well, Jonathan got backed into a corner where if, at the merge, he didn’t flip tribes he was a goner, but if he did, he was likely a goner in a couple of votes later. His talks with Yul were some of my favorites.

In S16, he was in a decent place where after the fans and faves intermingled he was in a nice alliance. Then he got hurt. Is it unfair that he gets a third chance, but Bruce, Mike, etc. only got one? Perhaps. But he’s Penner. And he makes good TV.

In addition to our three returnees, we have two bits of stunt casting as well. Former National League MVP Jeff Kent takes his place on Survivor. For those who are not baseball fans, Kent was voted the best player in the National League in 2000, and he played the game for 17 years. He was most famously a teammate and adversary of Barry Bonds. Kent finished his career with 377 home runs and a career .290 batting average and is a strong candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of the best second basemen. Now he’s playing second fiddle to Jonathan Penner.

Joining Kent is Blair Warner. That’s right, actress Lisa Whelchel has been a longtime fan of the show, but we all know her . as the beautiful, spoiled rich girl on “The Facts of Life.” No word yet if Tootie, Jo, or Natalie will be her family visit if she gets that far.

Of the interesting show tidbits this season, the tribes will be split into three, presumably to both account for the three returnees and to halt the growing trend of First Day Five-Person Alliances dominating the season. Also, the hidden idol will be in plain sight. This is actually barely a change when you think about how easy it is to find them.

So, without further ado, our new (and old) crop of Survivors. As always, the bio info is courtesy of the CBS Survivor website and the Dalton Ross gallery on Entertainment Weekly website.

Survivor: One World – Finale – May The Best Woman Win

That’s what we had for the Finale – for the first time ever, the Final Five were of the same gender, and in this case, all women. As we watch the opening season in review, it is pretty amazing when you recall the early victories by the men and the women begging the guys for an ember for their fire. We can now go back and map out the root of the men’s demise and the women’s rise – the Evil Queen. It was Colton’s decision to instigate the voluntary hand-off of immunity in order to take out Bill – for no reason other than he was annoyed by the comedian and arguably prejudiced against him – that started the downward spiral. That put them at even numbers when they could have had a gender advantage.

Imagine that they failed to make that move. Likely Cha goes out fourth overall. The tribes merge. Let’s say that the Monica vote happens again, and Colton’s injury doesn’t change. That puts the guys at a 7-5 advantage at the merge – with Bill taking Cha’s slot. Now, all of a sudden, the women cannot dominate. Likely, the restructured Salamis become the power alliance – Kim, Kitten, Chelsea, Sabrina, Jay, Michael and Troyzan. Would the four women hold power here? Uncertain, but it would certainly give the boys a shot.

The season basically turned on an act of selfish racism. Chew on that for a moment. As we would later see, Colton sort of walked back his actions at the reunion, but not really all that much. Has he learned anything? Who knows. I get the feeling that he has, but he’s such an attention whore that as soon as the red light of the camera was fixed on him, he regressed. Much of the reunion was all about him – amazing for a guy who finished 13th – so much so that Probst was ready to put his mom on screen, and the producers shuffled the order so he could sit next to Bill, even though Monica went out between the two of them.

However, I have already said more about him than I wanted to – and I am glad that the rumors of who the returning three formerly injured Survivors coming back for Season 25 does NOT include him – and I need to get into the actual Survivors who did not get carried out on a stretcher. Plus, I wanted to yap on a bit about something so I can give those who have not watched the episode yet (and really, if you are one of those people, why are you reading this?) to move along before I reveal what I really wanted to name this episode, and what could be said is the real title defining this entire season.

Survivor: One World – Ep 13 – Queen of the Social Game

If Alicia is the Queen of the Social Game, then I am the Queen of Hungary.  And I don’t think Hungary has a queen.  And I am not a woman.  

I am amazed by how many people this season have thought they were in control of the action.  It is interesting how things have gone this season, and when I say interesting I don’t mean that in the sense of good television.  Interesting to see the levels of delusion people have in their lives.  But as far as Survivor seasons go…there is really not a lot that can save One World at this point.  It started off ok, but man, this has limped to the end.  I really don’t know which seasons I would rank below One World in the list of 24 – Nicaragua because of the quitting, and maybe Fiji for the terrible Haves vs. Have Nots twist.  However, that might be it.  They have two more hours and a reunion to somehow get past Thailand in the pecking order.

But as for this last episode before the three-hour Sunday extravaganza, it was an hour of dizzying strategizing.  Was it going to be a 3-3 split between Tarzan/Cha/Alicia and Sabrina/Kim/Chelsea?  Was Chelsea aiming for Alicia? Was it going to feature a new alliance with Tarzan in the finals?  Was Chelsea going to be targeted?  Was Cha going to see the end of the road? Cha and Chelsea spoke about strategy and then Cha spilled the beans.  Alicia seemed to play multiple sides, and in the end made a decision which may come back to haunt her.

What we learned this week was that Kim has two plans left and has been playing both sides very carefully.  However, now she had a decision to make – stick with Chelsea and Sabrina or align with Tarzan/Cha/Alicia.  If she stuck with Chelsea and Sabrina, she would have to manage to twist the vote to one of the other three.  And…spoiler a coming, friends…she chose to take out the last man standing.

Tarzan was actually starting to say some interesting things this week strategically.  He was stirring things up a little to push his way into a Final Four with Kim, Alicia and Cha.  Later on, he pushed the same story on Kim and Alicia about how they were being targeted.  The problem is that the ladies, unlike the dudes, liked to talk to each other this season.  Kim and Alicia compared notes, and Kim found her wedge.  The harmless Tarzan suddenly appeared like a threat to Alicia.  I love how the self-proclaimed queen of the social game is getting played week in and week out by Kim.  

Now, the Final Five is set, and we have the first season where all women stand at the end.  Micronesia had four women, but never five.  In fact, never before have there been five of the same gender at the end.  And the balance of power is about to shift.  Kim, amazingly, is the swing vote.  How often has the power broker been the swing vote?  Ever?  

Alicia and Cha need each other in the finals – however, they made a bad decision in taking out Tarzan.  Can you see the two of them in the Finals beating any of the other ladies?  I don’t.  Cha gets zero votes no matter what, and Alicia may get a few.  Chelsea and Sabrina crush them both in a vote – perhaps to Earl or Boston Rob kind of levels.  The only hope is jury bitterness acts as a major backlash against Kim enabling Alicia to get the not-Kim vote.

However, against Tarzan?  After the jury learns that Tarzan is the reason they all got voted out thanks to his decision to secretly side with the women, the men would probably not vote his way no matter what gender they share.  They should have stayed strong and forced Kim’s hand.  If 3-3 deadlock, well, maybe you force the rock.  Alicia had nothing to lose, she had immunity.  

Tarzan would have been on the chopping block, he had nothing to lose.  They would just need Cha to stay strong and gamble that a 20% chance of elimination on a random rock pull would be better than their chances of reaching the end with the all-female Final Five.

Because as I see it, the Chelsea vs. Alicia showdown happens now.  Kim will have to pick her preferred Final Three.  And it is not as easy as you think.  If Kim sticks with Chelsea and Sabrina, she risks facing her biggest competitors before the jury – with Alicia and Kitten’s votes likely not in her pocket.  If she goes against Alicia and Cha at the end, it seems like an easy choice, no?  Well, that would mean three votes on the jury will likely be very bitter – Chelsea, Kitten and Sabrina.  Would she be able to muster up five of the guys?  That’s asking a lot.  What about a combination?  Maybe take out Cha at Five – since no one cares about her – and then force a 2-2 vote and let them fight it out.  That angers the fewest amount of people before the Final Tribal.

Otherwise, this was a very non-eventful episode of Survivor.  One thing that happened was another Survivor made bad choices on a Reward challenge.  Chelsea earned the win and smartly picked Sabrina – she was in need of a Reward and finished a close second to her – but dropped the ball when she chose Kim.  The Real Queen has already had about 35 Rewards and by choosing her it made it obvious that the three of them were close.  Choosing Cha or Tarzan would be the right move – both have yet to have eat, and choosing them SPLITS THEM UP!!! You know, so THEY DON’T PLOT AGAINST YOU!!!  Seriously.

The other thing that happened was that Tarzan wore Kitten’s dirty panties on his head.  That happened.  Kitten’s reaction at Tribal was pretty awesome in her disgust and utter repulsion.  

Survivor: One World – Ep 12 – Blindsides Are Fun And Exciting…When It’s Not You

Now THAT, is how you blindside someone. Instantly, this goes into the Top 5 of most incredible blindsides in the history of the show. Joining Eduardo, Ozzy, James, and a handful of others as some seriously awesome blindsides. What made this one so perfect is not only that she didn’t see it coming, but she was openly giddy about the imminent blindsiding of someone else. It makes it ever so sweeter to see someone get some comeuppance when they are taking too much pleasure in the misfortune of others.
So, if for some reason, you have not yet watched the episode, you may want to turn away. In fact, I’ll distract you with this thought…

You had me at meat tornado.

Ok, that Ron Swanson interlude over…I thought Kitten’s departure was an incredible twist this week. And, to be honest, it could go either way for Kim once she (most likely) faces the jury. Kitten was not happy about this move. And having watched some of the Ponderosa videos, it is shaping up to be a rather bitter jury. And there are a couple of jury members who are going to be seriously betrayed in these last few Tribals. Let’s assume Cha and Tarzan are not going to be all that surprised if their name pops up, but one of the other ladies will.

However, I agree with the belief that Kitten in the finals would bring in votes. The guys liked her – and her immaturity would not have played into their decision. Granted, she would not even come close to an argument at Final Tribal that could have made any sense whatsoever, but there were votes among the guys for her. And Kim knew that. Kitten would have to go at some point, and with Sabrina and, later, Alicia on the warpath, Kitten’s time was now.

And rarely has there been a more clueless Survivor as Kitten was during these three days on the island. It started with the reaction to Troyzan’s “do it” instructions to her just a few moments before – and it seems Troy really meant it for her as a pep talk, but the result was planting the seed in the others that Kitten was going to get votes from the boys.

The bulk of the first half of the episode was the family visit. To sum up my family visit thoughts – I used to mock them, and then I had a child. Well, my wife had the child. You know what I mean. Now I get it. Put stress, with filth, with dehydration, with hunger, into the mix, well, you get weepy reunions. But more on the challenge in a bit, for now, we met Kitten’s cousin Robby. Upon greeting, Kitten actually became a kitten. She got down on all fours and made animal sounds. They spoke gibberish to each other and she lept into his arms and wrapped her legs around him. I refuse to comment about this the way others have – all families are different. They are close and it was odd, but it was smile-inducing.

She wins the challenge. And now, Kitten, one of the least self-aware Survivors in recent memory, has to make what is arguably the trickiest decision year in and year out on this show – who do you let see their family, and who do you send back to camp.

Kitten managed to make the worst possible decision and compounded it with the worst possible explanation. Just a few days after Kim chose not to take Kitten on reward – much to her chagrin – she chooses Kim and her sister to join her. Choosing the power player is never the best decision – unless you are either kissing up, or are unaware of who is in a position of power. And it became clear this episode – and in post-show interviews – that Kitten had no idea that Kim was pulling the strings. However, she was given a chance to do a partial good job after Probst let her take a second guest. Amazingly, she took Alicia – two of the three women who went on the last reward. Why did she take them? She wanted to get drunk with them. Really. That’s what she said. She would have been better off picking randomly, or alphabetically.

First, for the last month they must have known that Tarzan had a storybook romance with his wife. They all must have known that Cha’s father was a very sick man. If Kitten were truly playing the game she would have realized that taking these two was the correct play. None of the women (save maybe Alicia) would have had any issue with that choice, and the jury would have loved it. The circumstances notwithstanding, what she managed to accomplish was to leave a pair of people who desperately missed their loved ones alone with two other people who sympathized with them. And the last time I checked, four was greater than three.

In one fell swoop, Kitten almost ruined Kim’s game. But Kim is good at this – she saw the writing on the wall and Kitten’s behavior only ruined one scenario for Kim. After the four returned to camp, Sabrina railed against Kitten’s decision. She initiated a discussion with Tarzan and Cha about turning on Kitten, with Chelsea seemingly on board. Ironic, because Sabrina appeared to be unaware of the fact that she was being plotted against thanks to her good decision making and oratory skills. However, Chelsea would not commit until she spoke with Kim.

Kim was still holding out hope that she could maintain her ideal Final Three against the immature Kitten and the unlikable Alicia. However, the Immunity Challenge further put dirt on Kitten’s grave. In a new twist on the classic Survivor endurance challenge, they had to stand on a platform holding a rope behind their backs. Probst released tension on a winch slowly putting them more and more horizontal and making holding onto the rope harder and harder. After a grueling hour, Kim and Kitten were the last two standing. Kitten begged Kim to let her win, and when Kim didn’t and won, Kitten whined and pouted and made a spectacle of herself. That soured Kim on her just enough.

But of course, her bad behavior isn’t what did it for Alicia. She was scared of Kitten’s unexpected challenge prowess. When Alicia came to Kim with the Kitten plan, that was enough. It is the mark of a great tribe leader to know which way the wind is blowing. Even without Kitten, she is in control, just go along with the tribe on this one and worry about the bitter jury speech later.

And Kitten went into the Tribal Council certain Sabrina was getting blindsided. She took much glee in the prospect that this was happening. She and Alicia even shared a knowing glance when Sabrina fell off the perch at the challenge – Kitten doing a little dance – in what turned out to be their final moments of alliance. Even when all of the talk turned to criticisms of her, she still had no idea it was coming. As the votes were read, her face was a classic dumbfounded mask of shock. She slowly turned to face her friends and shuffled off to Probst. Part of me felt very badly for her as she wept on the way out of the game, but the other part of me remembered that she was looking forward to seeing someone else suffer the same fate and embarrassment that she was experiencing. Life lessons for the young woman unfolding before our eyes.

And now we have six left and unless something unexpected happens, we have Kim’s march to victory. The only things that stand in her way are 1) the others suddenly see the light and turn on her at the F6 or F4 (remember, she has an idol), or 2) the jury is incredibly bitter and refuses to reward her win. Her best matchups are to be up against Cha and Tarzan in the finals – even the bitterest of the bitter would have a hard time giving their vote to either one. She could take Alicia if she wanted to instead of Tarzan for fear of a guy vote coalescing unexpectedly around him. Her biggest fear should be facing Chelsea or Sabrina at the end. The two of them, in my opinion, are the only two with a shot of derailing the Kim train.

Survivor: One World – Ep 11 – Slippin’ And A Slidin’ And A Progression Of Dumb Mistakes

When you have a season such as this one where the boot order is fairly certain, where one alliance or one player is so utterly dominating, you desperately cling to whatever you can find to entertain before show drama can develop. For me, this episode provided a bunch of elements of entertainment. They can be summed up rather easily.

Chelsea spreading oil all over her body, and multiple people making really, really dumb decisions.

As soon as Troyzan lost the immunity challenge – done in by Tarzan, of all people – you knew what was going to happen. Even though he amazingly came closer to weaseling out than I thought possible. But more on the dumb mistakes later. With the drama basically gone, we were lucky to have Survivor recycle two of its classic and always-entertaining challenges.

First, we got the old standby – the quiz about your fellow Survivors, and then guessing what the group said. It’s a brilliant challenge that reveals alliance pecking order and fosters lots of ill will among the Survivor. I still think my favorite one was during Exile Island when Courtney was just piled upon by her tribe.

This time around the tribe was presented with Kim and Chelsea going to the end of the challenge, and revealed as clearly the power duo. Cha finished third, something of an exception, as she has no power. I think it was a bit of a microcosm of her season – I think the others just forgot to cut her rope and she just sort of stuck around. But it was the questions that probably struck a nerve with many of them, and perhaps could lay the groundwork for some dissention in the ranks.

1 – Who doesn’t deserve to be here? The group thought it was Cha. And I can see that, but she clearly didn’t.
2 – Who would you trust with your life? Kim. Really? The wedding dress lady? Instead of the ACTUAL DOCTOR LIVING WITH YOU? Of course, it’s Tarzan. And he’s only the second most unlikely doctor on network TV right now.
3 – Who needs a wakeup call in life? Kitten. Really, we’re giving life lessons on Survivor? Granted, Kitten is the right answer, but who are these people to tell her how to live her life OUTSIDE of the game?
4 – Who is the biggest poser? Troyzan. Meh. I would say Alicia, who sure seems like a caricature and not a real person, but Troy is a good answer too. His name is friggin’ Troyzan.
5 – Who does the least for the tribe? Sabrina. Interesting answer. Somehow she does nothing in camp and is in a position of power.
6 – Who would you most like to be stranded on an island with? Kim. This question more than any proved her power position, because, well, they ARE stranded on an island!
7 – Who do you hope to never see again? Troyzan. Awww, I don’t think they meant that. This answer was totally an in-the-game moment. He was just the current enemy. In a truthful moment, I’m sure the answer would be Alicia.

So the order out was Troy, Tarzan, Chelsea (interesting), Kitten, Sabrina, Cha and then Alicia lost to Kim. So, the woman in power won the divisive challenge. A compelling argument could be made that it would behoove her to lose this challenge. As you knew Probst was going to let her take people along on the chopper ride to the picnic. And he did.

Before the challenge, we got a scene with Kitten and Kim where Kitten made a request to be taken on the reward. Kim interviewed that she did not want a scenario that put Troyzan, Cha and Alicia in camp together without her. Any fan of the show knew with this scene that Kim was clearly going to be the challenge winner. So, her first choice on the reward was Alicia. Makes sense. It keeps her away from Troy and she did finish second in the challenge. Now, the second choice resulted in Kim making her first error of the season. She did NOT take Kitten, she took Chelsea.

This was wrong because she knew Kitten is not in control of her emotions and would take this very badly. Also, because Chelsea really didn’t need to be on that reward – she was a shored up ally. It added an unnecessary random element to the game for Kim – a pissed off Kitten , in the same camp with Troyzan, Cha and Tarzan could lead to a 4-4 split, and a sticky situation. It took a level-headed Sabrina to keep an eye on Kitten and talk her off the ledge a bit to diffuse it. That, and Troyzan doing a terrible sell job on her – he should know by now that browbeating Kitten is not the way to get her on your side.

If only Sabrina had continued the smart game play. Because she instantly supplanted Kim’s mistake with her own dumb one to briefly take over the lead of dumb mistakes on the show. Once Troyzan lost the immunity challenge, his head was the next to be chopped. However, the ladies were unsure if he had found another idol. We knew he was bluffing, but they didn’t. So, Kim chose another split vote. Give four votes to Troy, and two to Cha. If Troyzan got another vote on his side and played an idol, it would tie Cha, and all of the Troy votes would then redirect to Cha.

But then Sabrina TOLD CHA THE PLAN!!! She told her that she was getting votes in the split – but assured her she was not going home. How could she assure that? Cha should raised hell – the proper response would be for her to say, why me? Why not two votes at Tarzan? I thought we were a six-person female alliance? But either she didn’t see that she was in danger, or she chose to ignore it. I love how Cha went to Kim to talk about it and Kim deadpanned, “She told you?” No kidding! And incredibly, Cha not doing the math WASN’T EVEN HER WORST ERROR!!!

Cha wins the award for dumb mistakes for the week by responding to the news she was on the chopping block by…telling Troyzan!! At this point, she could not flip the vote – she didn’t have the votes to form a new alliance. Not in the short notice before TC – Cha didn’t have that kind of influence. Her only play was to go to her alliance and ask for the votes to be sent to Tarzan, and if it failed, to plot for a future move. If she kept it quiet, Troyzan would throw his vote out at someone in the hopes that his futile attempts to flip the game would work. Instead, by telling him, he throws a vote at Cha as well and hopes that they mess up their split, and that Kitten rebels.

Granted, the chances of Troyzan working it here were slim, but why would Cha give him the life preserver? Stranger things have happened with votes –remember Tyson voting himself out? Just keep him in the dark and get rid of him and try to flip it in the F7.

However, while the dumb moves were amusing, they were not the highlight of the episode. That is squarely on the shoulders of the slip n’ slide. The show has done this challenge before, and should do it every year. At least for as long as they keep casting gorgeous women in bikinis. Speaking for all straight men, and gay women, across the country, I thank the producers of Survivor for Chelsea rubbing oil all over her body, and for Cha giving her cleavage a once over. I truly, truly thank you.

The challenge is to lube up and launch yourself down a slip n’ slide to gather up a ring (2 or 3 of them in subsequent rounds) and then toss it onto a peg. Four head-to-head matchups, then two, then one. In Round 1, Chelsea comes up with a great method of flipping the ring rather than throwing it as a Frisbee and beats Alicia. Kitten beats Sabrina despite Sabrina’s good first slide. The Battle of the Zans, Tarzan was bad on the slide, but good on the ring toss. Boom, Troyzan is gone in more ways than one. Kim destroys Cha, who belly flops and is never in the competition. We do get a butt blur for Cha though, so there’s that.

In Round 2, they have to hit two rings. Chelsea’s method works again as she beats Kitten 2-1. But the shot of Kitten shuffling her way down the course…awesome. And Probst telling us about Kim doing wonderful things on her knees…also awesome. She destroys Tarzan who seems to be competing in a different race altogether. So, Kim and Chelsea clash in the final round and have to hit three rings. And despite Chelsea’s ring skills, she still gets beaten by Kim.

Oh yeah, a pig wanders into camp. The women squeal as if they were several stereotypes. We get goofy hillbilly music, and if anyone thought this group had any Michael Skupin in them, well, you’ve been watching a different season. So now they have a pet pig. Maybe they can teach him to herd sheep.

Survivor: One World – Ep 10 – The One Where They Remember Leif Was On The Show

It’s Kim’s world, and we’re just watching her dominate it.

This episode was all about Troyzan and his efforts to get back in the game – and it was interesting to watch him do smart and dumb things at the same time – but the underlying theme remains this…Kim is TOTALLY dominating this season. The best part of it is – I really don’t think the other women even understand how much she is dominating.

But this was Troyzan’s episode from start to finish – even though he was not the person in charge and he was not the person going home. We open with Troyzan reacting to the elimination of Jay – and in a deleted scene on the show’s website, an explanation to him from Kim as she lays out what’s what. Troy now knows the women are a tight six, and the dudes are in trouble. If he doubted he was on the outs, the reaction to his question of Cha by Alicia sealed it. If you watch, Troyzan was not being aggressive, loud or mean to her. He simply pointed out to Cha that she’s been on the block several times, and she is sixth out of six with the women. He asks her if she ever even considered his proposal to join up. Before she could answer, Alicia yelled at him and told him not to attack Cha. Voices raised as a result. Troyzan even talking to their weakest member resulted in a quick attack against him. He was alone.

And the other dudes were no help – Leif doesn’t speak, and while this was going on Tarzan was excavating his nasal passages. Perhaps looking for a clue.

However, Troyzan’s attempts at getting back in the game were not successful. And compounding his failure, Troyzan stamped out any chance he had of winning the season. Because, for some reason, he thinks that mocking the other Survivors is a good way to ensure their vote. I just don’t understand the logic, Troy. Let’s argue for a moment that Troyzan pulls this out of a hat. Or Tarzan’s nose. Who knows. He wins immunity this week. Tarzan goes home. At F7, he tries to shave off three women to get a 4-3 advantage (likely to fail), and wins immunity. Cha goes home. At F6, he tries to convince Alicia, Kitten and Sabrina to flip. He fails and wins immunity. Alicia goes home. At F5, he tries to get Kitten/Sabrina or Chelsea/Kim to go with him to the F3. He fails, but wins immunity. I think that elimination is up in the air. At F4, again, he tries for a F3, fails, and wins immunity. That puts him in the finals after winning six consecutive immunities. Maybe he has Leif, Jay and Sushi on his side. Mike can’t stand him. He and Tarzan are not allied. The women now all hate him. At best he gets three votes, and his only hope is the two women next to him split the other six and we have the uncharted territory of a 3-3-3 split vote.

And that is his ONLY realistic scenario where he can win. Now, if he didn’t openly mock them, well, that might have helped, no?

This season has closely mirrored Vanuatu in many ways – and might I add, Vanuatu is one of the most underrated Survivor seasons in the show’s run.

However, despite the thematic similarities – strong women’s alliance rises from a fake co-ed alliance formed during the tribal shift – there are major differences. On Vanuatu, there were some very, very good players – Chris (of course), Ami, Scout, Eliza, even Twila, Julie and Sarge had some good qualities. All of who would be good choices (some already have) to return for another season. Chris was able to make his move in that season because there was more than one woman trying to win, and he had the skills to take advantage of that and then carry it from there. He did that because people liked him.

Get that, Troyzan? Chris won because he stuck around and was able to fracture the alliance, but more importantly because he was able to win their votes. And he actually screwed over a couple of them – but they still voted for him. Do you think you can win by getting in the face of all of these people and shouting boasts at them? That’s not a Chris Daugherty move, that’s a Russell Hantz move.

More on Vanuatu – while the similarities are there, there are no Scouts this season that would have the ability to make the move she made. To recap – when that season got to the F7 with six women and one man, they could have taken out the last guy once he lost the F7 immunity. However, knowing that Ami, Julie and LeAnn were the power and that she and Twila would be out quickly once the men were gone, Scout gathered up Twila and approached outcast Chris and pariah Eliza to form a new power alliance.

Can you see Kitten doing that? Alicia? Maybe Sabrina can, but basically, there is no Scout this season. No matter how good of an argument either Zan makes, they are doomed minus an immunity run, barring some very unexpected breakdown. To me, the season is closer to Redemption Island. Rob dominated that season, just as Kim is dominating this one (although the first half of this season was all Colton, Kim has been calling the shots from Day 1). His was more impressive because of the built-in target on his back from the first moments of the game; hers is not to be shrugged off. If she closes the deal as he did – hers will go down in Survivor lore as one of the best executed game plans in show history. Made especially so by a collection of characters who never, ever posed a real threat to her.

Survivor: One World – Ep 9 – I Repeat…A Survivor Star Is Born

Um, all I really have to say is, check out last week’s column because it applies. In fact, I think I can probably just copy and paste until May with the same columns. Kim is rocking it. She’s like a human being outwitting a collection of raccoons. Unless the raccoons suddenly get their hands on the secret Planet of the Apes formula during a reward challenge, Kim is going to breeze to a new tax bracket.

But I guess I should probably talk about this week a bit.

Really though, it’s the same theme. Kim is running the show, the woman have the guys by the short ones and they are just barely starting to see it. Well, sort of. Last week, Jay saw it but Troyzan was positive the women were on their side. This week, a world of difference. Troyzan saw the writing on the wall, but Jay was convinced. Jeez – come on, guys. Even Tarzan saw that it was going to happen – but since he’s a nutcase, no one is listening to him. He’s like the crazy guy who lives in an RV in the woods, listening to police scanners and believing in every internet hoax, played by Randy Quaid in the movies. Or, actual Randy Quaid. In the movies, he’s always right about the imminent alien attack, but no one will listen. Well, Tarzan is right about the women, and these other idiots won’t listen to him because he keeps crapping his pants.

Right at the outset, Tarzan warns them that the girls were plotting because the men fell apart. He’s right. Of course, he had a lot to do with it – remember his little war with Sushi. And the boys could have stuck together down 6-4 and worked hard to flip Cha, while using Troyzan’s idol as a weapon. But they didn’t. Because these guys are apparently on a different island than the one we are watching. Fantasy Island.

I think, the only way they can avoid their imminent Pagonging is, again, what I said last week. The remaining men, with Troyzan doing the talking, of course, must band together and work on splintering off the two women at the bottom of the six-person alliance. Troyzan’s sales pitch to them has to be a solo sales pitch – he has to promise them Final Three. The pitch is that they (most likely Cha and Alicia – but the crazy lady is hard to depend on, he may have to go for Kitten instead) are doomed for a fifth and sixth place finish as the bottom of the Six Women Gang. If they join with him, he vows that after they take out Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina and whichever one of Kitten/Alicia is not with them, that the next votes are Leif and Tarzan. He must make them a hard Final Three promise and hope that they buy into it.

Absent that, the scenarios where the guys last are diminishing quickly. One of them could go on an immunity run – likely Troyzan. One of them could find the new HII and use it at some point to propel into the Final Four. Or perhaps at the F7, the season will mirror Vanuatu and the ladies splinter and use the last guy as a swing vote and he is able to parlay it with the brilliance that Chris did many seasons ago.

Whatever. Raccoons.

A little bit about our lost model. Jay was an odd one. He appeared to have decent instincts and some elements of a good Survivor game, but he would follow a good move with an abysmal one. He fell into the trap of taking out Sushi, putting the guys in a rough spot. Then he realized the situation they were in, but didn’t stop the Mike ouster. This week he seemingly knew the trouble he was in, but blindly fell for Kim’s reassurances. There was a good player in there somewhere; he just couldn’t break through to the surface.
What bothered me most about Jay’s game this week was the inexcusable decision to opt out of the challenge to eat chicken wings and beer. And he doesn’t even drink beer!!! Even if you think that Kim’s got your back, you have to at least think in the back of your mind that she doesn’t. While you may feel secure enough not to scramble, you can at least try to wear that necklace to eliminate all the mystery. Under no circumstances do you give up in order to chow down on a plate of food that you can get in any TGI Fridays for $10.

And about those food temptation challenges – for future Survivors. Watch yourself. If you have any concerns about your fellow competitors learning about your alliances or your intentions towards them, try not to give up challenges in order to eat a bowl of candy. And at least pretend to cheer for each one so they know they are not on the outs. And, while I am at it, don’t give up immunity for food. Remember your long game – it does not include chicken wings.

Another thing that irked me – the do-it-yourself challenges have to go the way of the Medallion of Power. It is a bad idea. Survivor is very good at reinventing itself – and many of its new ideas work well. This one does not. I am sure Probst went along with them just to prove to the producers just how valuable he is to the broadcast. The two challenges this season that were Probst-less were just unwatchable. This one was just pathetic. The challenge was simple, but it was boring as all get-out. And Troyzan’s feeble attempt at play-by-play. made Probst look like Al Michaels. Please, retire this one.

So, my friends, sit back for the next couple of weeks and enjoy the Pagonging. Troyzan better hope he has a bit of Terry or Ozzy in him as he needs immunity wins. Tarzan could manage to linger even into the end game solely for the fact that no one is going to vote for him to win. And I continually forget Leif is playing Survivor – as do the editors and producers. Perhaps the women will forget he’s there too and he’ll manage to make it to the end. I fully expect three weeks of male Pagonging before the women turn on each other. I would like to be surprised, not because I want one of the dudes to win, but because I want to see something interesting happen.

Survivor: One World – Ep 8 – A Survivor Star Is Born

To quote Saruman, a new power is rising, it’s victory is at hand. And her name is Kim. To be honest, it looked like the Evil Queen was going to be the one person from this season to go down in the Survivor Hall of Fame. Not only was he a schemer, but he was batsh*t crazy. That’s Hantz-level Hall of Fame. But he was consumed from the inside by evil. So, what happened? Very quietly, Kim snuck up on us. While all of the insanity was going on around her – Evil Queen, Tarzan, Alicia, Kitten, etc – Kim had a plan.

She built up a power alliance of women right from the start with Chelsea, Sabrina and Kitten. And then they shuffled and she got a stroke of luck – her alliance remained intact. Only now it was supplemented not by other women, but by three men. She had two alliances both dominated by her Core Four, which she controlled. The question would be for her – which one would be her alliance to the end? And when would she decide?

The answer is this week. And the show did not even attempt to hide it – the previouslies were all about the women’s alliance and would it reform. Well, of course it will! And I love how it did. During the reward, Kim and Sabrina were so full of meat and 7-Up that they were lying on the deck of the Oasis. Guys were right there – and they were clueless to their demise taking place right there on the floor. The plan was to target Mike – no machetes for him to steal this time. They would lie to Troyzan and say that Mike was gunning for him, playing on Troyzan’s dislike of Mike and his comfort in the alliance.

Kim would later approach Troyzan and unfurl her plan. And he bought it. He was even ordered not to tell Mike about his anger on being targeted – all the better to blindside him. To paraphrase Danny DeVito’s Penguin, she played him like a fiddle from hell. Troyzan mocked Mike as being an idiot in a confessional. Well, that is true, but, um, pot and kettle, my friend. The bottom line is that the boys are like a bad rom com plot. All they need to do is talk to each other and there would be no problems. But from the start they were splintered and fell for the oldest warfare trick in the book – divide and conquer.

Kim even does damage control as well as some of the all-time power players in show history. While she was hatching her plan with Sabrina on reward, Kitten was busy floating the same plan to Troyzan. But he didn’t really listen. However, that wasn’t the worst part. Chelsea took it upon herself to sell Jay on the Mike plan – except she did it right in front of Alicia and Cha. To the guys, these ladies were the enemy, so why would a plan be hatched in front of them. Kim got wind of it and sprung to action, reining in Jay before he could ruin things.
My only question for Kim – and I tip my hat to her strategy so far – but why make the move now? I get wanting to take out the physical threat when you can, but if you wanted to keep playing both sides, they could have targeted Tarzan. Enough of the guys can’t stand him, and everyone knows that Chelsea can’t stand him. Just take him out – he was a Manamana member anyway – and you have the 6-4 gender advantage, the 7-3 tribal advantage, and a couple of more days without having to choose.

Kim got herself a 6-4 gender advantage – and now the boys face annihilation. Their only hope lies with a model.

Jay is a smart one – but not smart enough so far. When Chelsea slipped with the strategy, Jay made it clear the guys are worried that if Mike goes, that Jay would be next. Chelsea said “that’s not necessarily true.” Jay responded “that’s not really promising.” Nice. Then he says to Chelsea, Alicia and Cha – “anyone got any input, or are we gonna scramble one on one now?” Props to Jay – he has game too, but he’s gotten beaten so far by someone who is better. He’s late to the game, but Jay has now viewed the game board properly. Except he is rapidly approaching checkmate already. Better start scrambling, Jay.

Early on, Troyzan hoped that no mistake was made with the Sushi vote, and how they have to take out a girl. Jay worried the women “could hook up and do some damage.” No kidding. I’ll repeat from last week – the men’s best chance was to reform and bring Cha along. The smart play would have been for Jay and Mike to approach her with a Final Three promise if she’s come along. Instead, the men targeted Cha this week. Oh well.