What continues to seem like a solid season keeps on unfolding nicely before our eyes. Even a somewhat predictable episode (except for the challenge deal) was very enjoyable to watch.
So, the challenge deal. Who “won” the deal? Nobody seemed happy about it (even though everyone rolled with it), but I don’t really think anyone lost or won. Sure Tandang was hoping to get way more rice than they got, but they also could have gotten nothing at all had they lost the challenge. Also, they are weakening Kalabaw who now has no rice.
Kalabaw on the other hand “won” a much needed reward (at least to help them keep their spirits up), and I think it was smart of Penner to make such a deal as the merge is approaching anyway, what he miscalculated was his ability to feed his tribe. What he saw as a great move to assert his position in his tribe almost cost him a lot.
Talking about merge, does the fact that there was no merge at 12 players, added to the fact that Probst said nothing about Katie being the first member of the jury indicates that we will get a final two? That would be great, wouldn’t it?
Now that Matsing is no more, is Kalabaw following their path? Probably not. However that losing streak is not good… Unless the merge is coming soon. We have seen time and again that weeding out the unreliable (because they’re weak or because they’re untrustworthy) in a tribe can make it really united and it can help them destroy the bigger but disunited tribe after the merge.
– Carter Williams: I have to admit he disappoints me. I was expecting a new Ozzy or J.T. in terms of challenges and he’s none of them. Strategically and socially speaking he’s not that interesting. He’s a good number though as he’s loyal. If Penner has the idol, Jeff definitely has Carter as a sure second vote.
– Denise Stapley: Not much about Denise this week. I was hoping a bit more, but it makes sense that she stayed in the background a little this week, this is where she should be right now. She now has secured a somewhat strong alliance of four, plus Malcolm and whoever he will decide to bring along and she can really be the one pulling the strings once the merge comes.
One note about her. I believe that now she holds the record for having gone to the most tribal council premerge (she has been to every single one of them so far).
– Jeff Kent: OK, the guy can play the game props to him. His thinking was the proper one to have when it was time to decide who to vote out. Some people say it was a mistake to keep Penner I don’t think so. First he could have sense something (especially when Carter has some slips along the lines of “so Penner, do you want to vote Penner or Katie?”), played the idol and screwed over whoever he wanted (most likely Jeff indeed, as if Penner had realized he was being blindsided, he would also have realized who was behind it). By keeping Penner, he keeps a “shield” in a sense, as after the merge, it seems obvious that Penner will be targetet before Jeff. He also keeps an idol in a sense. Sure he doesn’t have it, but an united four can really use an idol when merge comes to fight off the bigger tribe.
– Jonathan Penner: I think I pretty much said all I had to say about Jonathan this week in the previous paragraphs. One little detail though. His face when he saw his name on Katie’s vote. At that moment he realized that “shit, I could be getting blindsided right now!” and even if he didn’t he will understand that Katie didn’t through away her vote, that she actually thought that Penner was going home, in other terms, he realized that other people (i.e. Jeff and Carter) have pushed Katie to vote against Penner and not against Denise. Which means Jonathan will now watch his back even more with his two not so reliable allies.
– Katie Hanson voted out: Well, she was pretty useless, her elimination early in the game is no surprise. However, props to her for taking it well and not get all bitter and pissy in her last confessional. One note about editing. While it was pretty obvious all episode long that if Malakaw went back to tribal she’d be out (she never spoke that much during an episode), the editing during tribal itself really made me believe that Penner would get blindsided, which would have blindsided us, as I can’t believe for a second that Penner exit episode will contain so little Penner.
Tandang seems invincible, but they will implode sooner or later (either at the first lost or after the merge). I can’t wait for that moment (I have a big bag of popcorn next to me just for when it happens).
– Abi-Maria Gomes: Beyond the fact that she’s paranoid, useless in challenges and a general source of tension around camp, I realized today what was really wrong with her. It’s that constant negativity and constant will to antagonize people. That being said, she’s pretty entertaining.
– Artis Silvester: I wish we’d saw more of him too. He seems pretty entertaining to with his passive aggressive ways.
– Lisa Whelchel: It seems that she has set herself right where she should be (quite under the radar but not invisible either). She is now in a pretty good position to go far whatever happens next.
– Malcolm Freberg: Malcolm is playing a perfect game right now. Doing everything right to be liked by his new tribe (even winning them challenges). Collecting a lot of information from every side about the inner workings of Tandang. Not openly taking sides. Right now he’s both the most popular person in his new tribe and somewhat under the radar at the same time.
– Michael Skupin: I don’t know how much Mike realizes he’s being targeted and could be the first voted out from Tandang? He has to be careful not to take the Russell route. Right now, he’s not too far from it from what I understand with this rice thing.
– Pete Yurkowski: Every week he does or say something that make me despise him. This week, he agrees with Mike about the deal with Kalabaw, but as soon as he sees how little rice there is to gain he flipflops and implies that he didn’t agree to the deal.
– Roberta “R.C.” Saint-Amour: R.C. is playing a pretty decent game now, considering her position. As under the radar as she can while subtly pushing Abi-Maria to be more and more insufferable. However, the only thing that keeps her alive right now is also winning challenges. However, I believe that it wouldn’t be too hard fer her and Skupin to secure Malcolm and Lisa in an alliance, even if a temporary one.
Next time on Survivor:
A game changer? Could it be a merge? At 11 players? Odd, but why not.
If I understand correctly, Tandang (and Kalabaw?) has to evacuate their camp as fast as possible. It really looks like a merge, but it could be something different, like a “One World” setting: both tribe move in together somewhere else bu don’t merge yet.
Who will be voted out next?
If Kalabaw goes to tribal, that’s going to be complicated. Jeff and Carter will try to vote out Penner who will play his idol targeting… Who?
If Tandang goes, Mike could be out.
If there is a merge, I see Malcolm bringing Mike and R.C. over to Kalabaw and take out Pete.
What do you think?
Still Denise, although Malcolm could really win it.
Before you go anywhere else, check out these great blogs and sites:
– Jeff Pitman at True Dork Times
– 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.