To switch tribes or to not switch tribes. Always a question Survivor producers must be asking themselves at this point of the game. Not switching create pagongings, solid large alliances that go to the end, in other words not great TV, but more “logical” developments in my opinion. On the other hand, switching keeps things fresh, allow for more complex strategies and more unstable alliances. On the other hand, interesting dynamics ans storylines get thrown off the window.
In the situation we had there, I still think having a switch then was the right choice, as it was clear that no switch would have led to two solid groups when merge comes and the larger one would dominate the rest of the game. The thing I’m not too sure about what to separate the camps on two different beaches before the One World twist could completely unfold. Why are we always stuck with horrible twists (redemption island, two returning players against newbies) for several seasons, but interesting ones last only a few episodes? But I get why both tribes had to be sent to different beaches in terms of storytelling.
I must also say something about the way the two tribes are now divided. I know it was completely random, but I’m afraid that Salani will destroy Manono until the merge. We’ll see. It also promises for good television until the merge, which is not always the case.
And if that episode was not full of tensions and betrayals and surprises, it was still an interesting beginning of this season’s second act.
- Chelsea Meissner: In case we had any doubts about it, Chelsea is close, very close to Kim. What is interesting is that they managed to make it look like they’re not that close to the men. What about Sabrina and Kat? They must know, right?
- Jay Byars: If I remember correctly, I was not too nice to Jay pre-game. Sorry Jay, you’re playing a much solid game than I ever suspected you would. Smart and social. The only problem is that the strategy he has now works better when you don’t appear as a threat and seeing how he is a muscular guy, that also means, he’ll be seen as a threat when merge comes. But who knows, if he’s made friends with most of his tribe by then, his social game can save him. He could go much further than I originally thought.
- Kat Edorsson: Not much about Kat today. I didn’t miss her.
- Kim Spradlin: OK, despite the fact that we didn’t see much of her for the previous weeks, did she have a winner edit this week or was this just me. Find an idol. Check. Solidifies her more or less secret alliance with Chelsea. Check. Create a second more or less secret alliance with Jay and Troyzan. Check. She’s in an awesome position now. I don’t see anyone targeting her before a long time if ever. She has back-up plans here and there. The only thing that could blow up in her face is if she becomes too manipulative and people who get burn by that and end up in the jury may be pissed. If that’s the case, she could become this season’s Stephen Fishbach to this season’s J.T. aka Chelsea (Stephen if by any chance you’re reading this: hi, I’m a big fan). But right now, she’s sitting in a great place.
- Michael Jefferson: Michael is smart and sneaky, and he’s ready to do anything to further himself in the game (steal women’s equipment at the beginning, rat out Leif at the right moment, etc). After all, he’s a banker, isn’t he? Still, he doesn’t have strong friendships nor strong alliance, even if he’s smart enough to survive much longer than many other players in a similar situation, I’d say his days are numbered. Kat may go before him, but after that, he’s toast.
- Sabrina Thompson: Sabrina is happy with this new tribe, but she actually may be in a much worse position than she thinks she is. If things stay good, she’s safe for a while, but if things get “complicated” she may soon realize that she doesn’t have as many friends as she thinks she had. Kim and Chelsea could betray her quicker than she’ll ever imagine. Let’s hope for her that everything goes well as Salani until the merge.
- Troy “Troyzan” Robertson: Not that much about him this week, but he’s still in a safe spot. He’s got to start watching his back though, you never know. However, befriending Kim was a very good move. He, Jay and Kim (plus Chelsea and Sabrina somewhere in the mix) can be a powerful group. Add to that Jonas when merge comes, and possibly Tarzan and Leif, and he won’t have many people wanting to vote him out for a long while. He has become my number two favorite to win this season after Kim.
- Alicia Rosa: In French we have a saying that goes pretty much like this “who’s alike goes together” (I’m sure there’s a similar one in English, it just doesn’t come to mind right now). I was not surprised one single second when Colton decided to have Alicia as his new best ally. Despicable people often go along great together. And on top of all the bad traits she has, she also thinks she’s a good player when she’s really not. She thinks she controls the game right now, but she only has Colton. Sure for some mysterious reason (i.e. many spineless people) Colton ended up controlling his tribe. But Colton won’t last. How can he?
- Colton Cumbie: OK, I’ll try not to spend too much time talking about how a despicable person he is, and let’s talk about his game instead. He’s not playing a great game at all. He thinks he does, but it appears this way because many other people are just worse. Last week it was his idea to give up immunity as a tribe, and it only worked because nobody in the tribe dared to speak up. Voting out Monica this week was stupid too. When you’re in a weak tribe, you don’t vote your strongest player, especially not when that player has no allies and can’t hurt you in any way. At this rate, Colton will most likely make the merge, then he will meet people who can play the game (and already “controlled” him without him realizing it), I mean Kim and Chelsea, well, mostly Kim. What we may get there is one of the sweetest blindside in Survivor history.
- Christina Cha: For some reason I like Christina. I guess it’s the “root for the underdog that has no chance to go anywhere whatsoever” thing. She’s the one who’s got the most screwed by the switch. While she was most likely going to get voted out if tribes hadn’t switched, there was still a chance that Alicia annoys her alliance a bit too much and gets the boot instead. Now Christina has no friends, no allies, nothing. When you’re as blindsided – if not more – as the person who just got voted out, it means you won’t last for very much longer (unless you’re Fabio). I don’t see how she can survive the next vote, unless Colton or Alicia does something that alienate him/her from the rest of the tribe.
- Greg “Tarzan” Smith: What a strange character. He’s obviously a big Colton’s fan (which kinda makes me suspicious of his own character), and him using big words may just be a lot of bullshit. It’s easy to pretend to have a lot of vocabulary among people who don’t. And by the way, what Leif did was not a neologism but a barbarism. A neologism is when you actually invent a new word. A barbarism is when you invent a new word, which is actually not a new word but a mistake. Just saying… I like his “I shan’t say” though. I can imagine Colton briefing him about keeping his mouth shut at tribal.
- Jonas Otsuji: I liked Jonas a lot at the beginning. He even was my favorite to win. However, he’s slowly getting on my nerves. I understand his strategy, and it could work, but it won’t. The only way it can now is that if we have a final two, and he’s sitting next to Colton (or Tarzan?), and we know that won’t happen.
- Leif Manson: Leif is too nice (and not smart enough? it’s up for debate) to play that game. Sorry, Leif, because you indeed seem to be a nice guy, but in terms of the game, you’re just a vote, and you’ll be voted out as soon as you’re not needed anymore.
- Monica Culpepper voted out: Poor Monica. She probably was the most decent member of the new Manono tribe. I don’t really have anything to say about her being voted out, except that it shows that Colton is not a good player, but the other people are just worse players because they simply allow him to have that much power, they could cut that short at any time, they just don’t.
Next Time on Survivor:
Apparently, somebody goes out on injury. Seeing how it’s apparently in Manono, I think Tarzan maybe the one, he hasn’t seemed to be in a very good shape lately. I hope it’s not too serious.
Who’s next to go?
If there is still a vote despite the emergency:
If Manono goes to tribal, Christina has pretty much no chance to get out of this tribal alive.
If Salani goes, Kat is in trouble as she’s expandable, and those people will vote with their brain.
Who’s gonna win?
Kim is my solid favorite right now, Troyzan and Chelsea are not too far behind. Jonas and Sabrina falling down in my ranking, and Jay is catching up with them.
Before you go anywhere else:
- Tell me what you thought of this episode in the comments.
- Go check out those very fine sites and blogs made by real fans:
- Super Jude‘s thoughts. He always sees what I forget to mention.
- Jeff Pitman’s True Dork Times, always funny and full of great insights.
- Dalton Ross’ recap, great competition to Jeff Pitman in terms of funny.
- The Midside and his great analyses from a storytelling perspective.
- More will come