After a couple of crazy episodes, it made sense that things woud be quieter this episode, but quieter doesn’t mean quiet and even if Pete’s eviction was obvious this week, we managed to still have an interesting episode. And little by little, the end approaches. I predict a wild one.
– Abi-Maria Gomes: OK, I’ve already said all I had to said about her being obnoxious. I thought I’d have nothing to add this week, and then Probst started wondering if it was cultural. And just like that I have a lot to say again. So, Jeff (because this paragraph is mostly addressed to Jeff Probst even though he’s never gonna read this), no it is not cultural. Let me explain. I know a thing or two about cultural differences, expressing oneself in a foreign language on a daily basis and similar things. For the people among you who read this blog and not my other ones (hint: you should), here are a few personal things about me. I am French, born and raised in France. French is my native language. However, I lived for seven years in the US, and I think my English is not too shabby (actually I have a somewhat stronger accent than Abi-Maria when I speak English). When I first moved to the US, believe me I had my share of social faux-pas and cultural misunderstandings, so you would imagine that I can relate to Abi-Maria and I will defend her. Except that I won’t. Here is the thing. First, when I hear her speaking English it’s obvious that her English is good enough to make the fact that its not her native language pretty irrelevant. Now, there is the fact that in some cultures (mine included, the Brazilian one possibly too) people are more direct and less “politically correct” than Americans are (hint: there is no such thing as hurting someone’s feelings in my country, if you have an issue with what I said, it’s your problem not mine). And believe me, during my first months in the US, I had my share of conflicts coming from those differences in the way different cultures have to express themselves and communicate. However, after a few months and a few conversations when people got offended and I didn’t understand why, I started to wonder what was wrong with me, and little by little, I understood that it had to do with the way I expressed myself and it was different from the way Americans did. In other terms, if I wanted to survive in the US, I had to adapt my social game. Sometimes, I even think that this is why I like Survivor so much (and why I believe I could do well), I have the feeling that I basically played the social aspect of Survivor 24/7 during most of the seven years that I spent in the US. But enough about me, and back to Abi-Maria. Despite being a Brazilian, if she’s a Survivor contestant, it means that she’s also a US citizen right (or if that rule has changed, I demand to be signed up for season 27 or 28 right away), so that means that she must have spent some time in the US, possibly more than I have, but definitely more than needed to realize that the way you communicate with Americans is different from the way you communicate with Brazilians. So if she hasn’t realized that yet, we are left with two conclusions:
-It’s indeed a cultural thing, but as she has failed to become aware of it for such a long time, we have to conclude that she’s socially inept.
-It is not a cultural thing and we have to conclude that she’s socially inept.
… and most likely next to go…
(on a side note, while I’ve learned how to not offend people without realizing it, it doesn’t mean that I don’t offend people anymore, now I just do it on purpose – I’m adding this in case anything I say offend you, here or on my Twitter account)
– Carter Williams: Sure we’ve all said that he was not that interesting and probably not that smart (pedicure anyone?). However, we have to give him credit to always be in the right alliance in the right moment.
– Denise Stapley: Denise is playing a near perfect game, why has she been so under-edited since the merge? I don’t get it. (well, I get it, it’s to give more airtime to Lisa, but come on!)
– Jonathan Penner: So the question about Penner this week is whether he made a big mistake or not refusing a final three alliance with Skupin and Lisa. Honestly I don’t know. On the one hand it may seem like a mistake, you never refuse an alliance proposal, right? On the other hand, he’s obviously preparing his final tribal council speech along the lines of “I’ve been honest with everyone and betrayed no one and was one against all many times in the game.” In other words, he doesn’t want to lose Lisa’s or Michael’s jury vote if he’s instrumental in them getting voted out and he had made such a deal with them first (especially because the loyalty factor is to important right now). What about this refusal alienates them from him? Well, he also now has voting block of four (Denise, Malcolm, Carter and himself) for at least a couple of votes, Lisa and Michael just can’t target him right now if they decided to.
– Lisa Whelchel: Finally she dumped Pete and Abi-Maria. Gosh it took a long time. Also this week (and last week) it was revealed that she was indeed super tight with Michael as suspected. What is next for her? Not sure at this point. While she seems to be getting the winner edit more and more, I’m not exactly sure what possible moves she and Michael can make next. It seems that she will be target either at five or six players left, but who knows? Alliances and the power balance have move so much this season.
– Malcolm Freberg: He keeps on playing a near perfect game too, although he can’t hide it as well as Denise and he’s starting to be targeted. Some people say that the whole “Lisa or Michael can flip back to Pete and Abi-Maria and blindside Malcolm” was just smoke and mirrors in order to try to make Pete’s ouster less obvious, I don’t think so. Malcolm seemed pretty nervous and almost ready to play his idol at tribal council. Also I don’t know whose idea it was (I suspect Denise’s or his) but the way they spit the votes was quite telling. Both Michael and Lisa voted against Abi-Maria. This way even if one changed their vote against Malcolm, Pete would still be sent home (if both had changed, Malcolm would have be fried though). Right now, he’s also getting a winner’s edit, but even if I haven’t rooted for a contestant the way I root for him since the Tocantins I think, I still have the feeling that he won’t win. People are starting to realize that he could be unbeatable in the end and they will vote him sooner or later.
– Michael Skupin: Finally some confessionals! There is something very strange with Michael’s edit. It now seems more and more obvious that he’s been playing a much more strategic game than we are being led to believe, however production showed almost nothing of it. I still can’t really figure out why. I guess that, the same way Artis seems to have been a really cool guy, but that was edited out to fit with the storyline of him being part of the “evil alliance”, I suspect more and more than Michael was sneakier and not as heroic as production want to portray him. Just a guess. And that’s why he’s still a mystery this late in the game (does he have a secret alliance with Penner? Probably. With Malcolm? Maybe.)
– Pete Yurkowski voted out: Do I have anything to add about Pete? Mmmm… OK, one thing. After bashing him all season long for being a douchebag (I still think he is), I have to give him credit for a solid game and not giving up and still trying to take back control of the game even with his head on the chopping block.
Next time on Survivor:
Abi-Maria’s swan song? Most likely.
Who will be voted out next?
Well, I guess we can safely assume that Abi-Maria is next, right?
No changes here I still believe in Denise despite the postmerge edit. Malcolm, Lisa and Penner are strong contenders too. Skupin is not far behind.
Before you go anywhere else, check out these great blogs and sites:
– Stephen Fishbach at People (will come soon)
– More will come as the season advances and I find them. I won’t always have time to update this list before the following week and post, but follow me on Facebook or Google+ (my Twitter account is not just for Survivor, so you may or may not like it, feel free to follow me there too if you want) for links to the best Survivor blogs I read/find.