So far I love this season. Another solid episode even if nothing very exceptionnal happens, it continues to set things up for the remainder of the season. I have faith that it indeed is going to be an awesome season.
– Carter Williams: He spoke! Again! And in a confessional this time! Not sure I remember what he said though. No actually, he said that while he wanted Penner out in the beginning, after some thinking, he realized that it’s better to have him on his side at least for now. Well, I agree with him, if you’re a newbie player, use the veteran as much as you can and then vote him out before it’s too late (that being said, as a fan of Penner, I hope he goes as far as possible). Also, this gave me some hopes about Carter, maybe he’s not that uninteresting.
– Dana Lambert: Dana, on the other hand had to resort to the good old cliché “us women, agains those evil men” Seriously? I mean, props to you for figuring out the guys were forming an alliance. Props to you to get the other girls with you, but making it another gender war, even suggesting to find female allies after the merge. Lame. Oh and actually, is that so smart to form a three person alliance against the three person alliance that just formed? Creating a tie is never a good thing, even less so when the hidden immunity idol is on the other alliance (I hope she has figured this out by now). Wouldn’t have it been smarter to align yourself with the guys and be sure to be in a strong four? Just saying.
– Jeff Kent: Last week I said how much I started to dislike him, but he won a few points this week after realizing that a real alliance with Penner was better for him than a fake one. The idea of voting Penner out first was kinda lame, and as it was the only thing that united the other five contestants, it would have been pretty chaotic and unpredictable for everyone after that and the recipe for disaster (remember Zapatera?)
– Jonathan Penner: This is what I love about Penner. His social game, while not perfect is very good and always interesting. He’s doing exactly what he should be doing right now to go as far in the game as possible.
– Katie Hanson: Who?
– Sarah Dawson: I’m kinda disappointed in her. I thought she was going to be either a major player or a big drama queen, she seems to be neither so far.
I’m sure the internet is abuzz right now debating whether or not Matsing is the worst tribe in Survivor history.
Here is my take on it. In a way it is; out of its six members, four of them were useless one way or the other (and yes, I consider Russell useless this season). But it’s hard to blame the players for that. Casting is to blame. Why create such unbalanced tribes? I mean, Kalabaw looks like a “normal” tribe in terms of assets and liabilities, but Tandang has four strong players and Matsing had four liabilities. Why that choice from production? Well, I have my idea… It’s all about the returning players. We know production wants Mike Skupin to go as far as possible and hopefully win. Hence the strong tribe. We know production likes Penner and want him to be able to play the way he knows how to play, hence this somewhat balanced but with the potential for dysfunctional dynamics tribe. Russell? Well, he apparently was a great leader in Samoa, so production either wanted him to show his leader skills again and lead this tribe of misfits far into the game, and if it didn’t work, well, it’s not like Russell is All-Stars material anyway.
So in my books, the worst tribe ever remains Ulong (in Palau). Remember, production didn’t make the tribes that season, the players did.
– Denise Stapley: Despite the dire situation she’s in right now, I still think she can win this game. Why? For the exact reason Russell and Malcolm said. She has an amazing social game, possibly the best ever (well, that remains to be seen when she makes the merge, because she will) and she has every tool to make it to the final tribal council and if she makes it there, people will just hand her the million. She’s simply the type of player that nobody wants to vote out for some reason. Even during this tribal council, she became the swing vote in a way, without looking like she was (although that just could be editing and actually Malcolm and her never were afraid that the other one would vote with Russell).
– Malcolm Freberg: I really like Malcolm, I think it has been a long time since I really liked a player, possibly since Stephen Fishbach and Tyson Apostol in the Tocantins (although I have to admit that I’m more of a fan of Tyson as an entertainer than as a player). I don’t think he has made a single wrong move (well, except cuddling with a hot girl too close to a sexually repressed christian, but even that wasn’t much of a mistake as it helped getting said sexually repressed christian out of the game). However, I don’t see him winning the game. Either he’s gonna make a big mistake somewhere or people will get mad at him because he played them, I don’t know. I just don’t see him win.
– Russell Swan voted out: Well, it was not exactly a surprise. We’ve seen it coming pretty much since episode one. Russell’s problem was, as Malcolm perfectly said: “self-awareness”. He has none. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but he simply thinks he’s Superman, and he thinks everyone thinks he’s Superman too, and that gives him such a big ego, and well, reality is very different. See you Russell. Once again I’m sure you’re a great guy, but as a Survivor contestant, not so much.
What I love with tribes full of strong personalities that win every challenge is the fact that as they never go to tribal council, they never get this catharsis moment that council can also be, and their implosion later in the game is always a lot of fun to watch. My pop corn is ready for Tandang’s imminent self-destruction.
– Abi-Maria Gomes: So let’s see if I got this right. The woman who tells her ally that she’ll kill her if she betrays her or something like that, is the one that does the betraying at the first opportunity, and then she goes all ballistic on her (former) ally for making a mistake (at this point, the clue slipping out of the bag has to be a mistake in her eyes, right?) who won’t hurt anyone but said former ally. Hello psycho! And while she’s a lot of entertainment, in terms of game play, it kinda sucks that she has the immunity idol and is part of the dominant alliance. Chaos will be part of this tribe as long as she is, I’m afraid.
– Artis Silvester: I still can’t get a feel on this guy. I’m starting to feel that there is none to be had.
– Lisa Whelchel: She’s not just a publicity stunt attempt from the producers, the woman actually knows the game, and right now, she’s playing well. After going from obvious first boot in her tribe, she has managed to get in the dominant alliance, although I doubt that this alliance will last. Yet, she now is in a position where she can avoid a few bullets until she puts herself in a better position and so on. I still think that she doesn’t have what it takes to win though.
– Michael Skupin: Interesting how we haven’t seen much of him lately, the thing is that I’m really having the hardest time considering him as a returning player. He played so long ago, that while his experience of living on the island and managing a camp can and does help (for every returning player, not just him), his experience of the game of Survivor is not that useful right now. Not only the game has changed so much in 23 seasons, but also, he never really had to go to tribal council much in Australia, and he has yet to go in the Philippines, so he just doesn’t have much experience in that field. And as he doesn’t really hang out with other past contestants in between seasons, I’m sure he doesn’t really know the behind the scenes other veterans talk about when they hang out. He’s really not that different from the other players. However, I want to see more of him, because returning player or not, I know he’s an interesting guy to watch.
– Pete Yurkowski: OK, so far, he’s one of the players that has shown the most strategy and some pretty good one. However, I still can’t like him, every thing he does or says scream “I’m a giant douche-bag”. Even his game play is douchey. Wrecking havoc… Mmmm… At first you want to say “why not?”, then my second reaction was “he got his inspiration from a certain evil midget from Samoa” not the best role model in my opinion, and finally, not sure if involving your number one ally in the “havoc” part is the best of ideas.
– Roberta “R.C.” Saint-Amour: I really feel bad for her. While she had everything to go far in this game, very far, now she really looks like she’s going to be the contestant that got unnecessarily screwed and she went from potential winner to likely first out in her tribe. What did she do for that? Nothing, except trust a very unstable person. Hopefully that will teach future contestants to stop making “strong” alliances on day one with people you talked with just once or twice.
Next time on Survivor:
Wow, I got everything right last week. Look I said that: “Matsing loses again! Russell is out of the game. Penner and Jeff form that strange alliance that could be powerful if it holds. Tandang keeps on becoming more and more messed up despite winning challenges.”
Then I said: “Two weeks later, there is a first merge/reshuffling of the tribes. Some people get screwed by it as usual, but it saves Malcolm and Denise who can take control of their new tribe by being the swing votes and being nonthreatening.”
I still believe this will happen, however, it seems we are going to have a med-evac next week, and it seems that it’s going to be Jeff Kent. So the first merge (from three to two tribes) could be delayed one week? Not sure. What is sure though is that now Denise and Malcolm are indeed a powerful two-some (really tight and unthreatening) and that things at Tandang are gonna get crazier.
Who will be voted out next?
If Kalabaw goes to tribal, I still have no idea who gets voted out. But if Jeff is med-evaced, I doubt there will be a tribal council.
I don’t think Matsing will go. If they go, we’ll have some sort of challenge (à la Bobby-John and Stephenie in Palau) and who knows what’s gonna happen.
If Tandang goes, R.C. really is in trouble unless Abi-Maria starts to freak people out too much.
What do you think?
Before you go anywhere else, check out these great blogs and sites:
– Super Jude (hoping he updates his blog 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.