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Surviving the Tocantins: Episode 7

Yeah, Survivor is back, and no I didn’t miss an episode. Episode 6 was the recrap episode, which was actually interesting for the first time in 18 seasons (people from CBS have finally understood that a summary of past episodes was useless, as people that don’t follow show don’t care about one, and people that follow it don’t need one).So, this week it’s back to business. The merge is around the corner and things seem more unpredictable than ever this season (and as Probst hinted, they will be unpredictable for most of the time until the end)…

Jalapao tribe:

Joe: We finally saw Joe’s personality and strategy. I especially loved these two quotes (I quote from memory): “Sydney is gorgeous, so she’s safe” (wasn’t she voted out in the end? oh, yeah, she was, that should give you a hint about your position in the picking order, Joe) and even better: “Me picking Erinn to join me to exile was a strategical decision: she’s hot, so I think we could get into an alliance.”
I think I liked Joe better when he didn’t speak. At least, any doubts I had about the fact he’s a moron are gone.
Still, him finding the fake hidden immunity could make it for entertaining TV later in the game (except that I’m sure he won’t see it coming when he gets voted out, and he won’t play the fake idol).

JT: By discovering the Taj and Stephen’s hidden immunity idol (thanks Taj) he secured himself a spot in that alliance that should keep him safe for a while, but: will Stephen and Taj tell him about the other half of the alliance when the merge comes? Will they (Bredan and Sierra) want TJ, or will they think that he’s too much of a threat later?
Right now, he’s in a strong position, and he’s pretty much calling the shots at Jalapao, but things will change soon, as Timbira will for sure target him at the next vote. Will he survive it?

Stephen: He’s definitely not a good liar. I almost scream when he said “Taj put the idol back in my pants pocket” TJ must have been tired or hungry at that moment for not picking the “back in the pocket” thing. Despite of this, and despite of Taj’s blunder (but was it one?), he still has the idol (but he will most certainly have to give it to TJ for the next vote. Will he?) and he’s still in one of the strongest position in the game right now with two trustworthy (at least for now) allies in each tribe. Right now, he seems to be safe until final four. But he must make sure he doesn’t get to confident and then get backstabbed. But Stephen is not the “overconfident” type, and that could help him a lot.
Right now he’s my favorite to win, but I have a bad feeling that he’s gonna get screwed before the end.

Sydney: I had high hopes for Sydney. I thought she was not the usual dumb pretty girl that assumed that nobody would vote her off, just because she was pretty (well, this strategy would work if the whole team was constituted of Joes). Apparently she’s never watched the show before. Why is it that every season we have one or two of those? Sure, we need something pretty to watch on TV, but this is Survivor, not America’s Next Top Model.

Taj: How can she be so smart (she came up with the cross-tribe secret alliance, she thought right away that Joe would know where the hidden immunity is supposed to be and decided to make a fake one), and so stupid (the whole “let’s tell JT about our alliance”, “hiding” the idol in a basket where anybody can stumble on it any minute (she’s lucky it’s JT that found it and not Joe or Sydney), promising JT to give him the idol if he needed it for no special reason and asking nothing in return) at the same time?
Even though I must admit that whole thing hurt Stephen’s game more than hers, as she’s got JT in her pocket (for now?) and that most likely saved her from the vote. Hadn’t she told all of this to JT, I think he could have voted with Joe and Sydney.

Timbira tribe: they’re on a roll right now, they have the advantage in the numbers entering the merge, but I’m pretty sure they won’t stay united after said merge.

Brendan: He’s still in a very strong position right now. His tribesmate may still have suspicions about his secret alliance, Erinn must be pretty sure he has the hidden immunity idol (will she tell anybody?), but apart from that he’s the one in the best spot to go all the way in his tribe.
Not sending Stephen or Taj to exile was smart, it would have been useless and would have weakened their position in their tribe, not mentioning weakening them physically and emotionally. Now that merge is coming he must decide which side he’ll be on, and it seems that he’ll be on Taj and Stephen’s side.

Coach: Still very funny to watch, still unbearable to have around I’m sure. What he’s not aware of is that he’s still around only because his tribe hasn’t been to tribal council in a while and as Brendan said “he’s predictable.” Indeed, he’s someone you want to have next to you in the final two, but nobody will be able to stand him that long, especially because he has no alliance (except with Tyson sort of). He should survive a couple more tribal councils, and then he’ll be gone (hopefully blindsided, hopefully he’ll have a huge shock, hopefully, it’ll be great TV).

Debra: Still hard to decide what’s her gameplay and whether she has one, but even if she’s just riding the coattails, she’s so nice and fun and well liked that she won’t be a target as long as the alpha males not in power (Coach and Tyson or Brendan and TJ depending of which side the balance is going to tip next week) are in the game. After that, her lack of alliance and such will send her to the jury real quick.

Erinn: She got lucky her tribe won immunity this week (even though, Sierra may have pushed for a Coach ouster and it may have worked) and her having an alliance with Joe could have been a great idea if… Taj and Brendan hadn’t had it before, and it had not been Joe. Still, she can be a swing vote in the near future, but I think that’s all she can be. I really think she could have been a power player if she had done things differently in the beginning (make friends and an alliance for example). Now, either she stays with Timbira and he’s gone very soon (either because Timbira falls apart or because she’s at the bottom of the picking order) or she goes with Jalapao and won’t last long either because there’s no room for her in the alliance.

Sierra: She’s still playing a good game, nobody seems to be wanting her out right now, she should logically stay true to the secret alliance (she hates Coach, doesn’t seem to be particularly good friends with Tyson, she seems close to Debra though), but thing is that she’s at the bottom of this alliance. How will she deal with that situation? Not sure yet…

Tyson: He’s the kind of player that deserves to win: strong, intelligent, fun, great analyst of people, etc, etc. Too bad for him, the only vague alliance he has is with Coach. I’m actually really surprised he doesn’t seem to have a real strategy (I’m sure he does but it’s been edited out). And I don’t see how he can survive very long right now. He’ll be the obvious target of Jalapao for the next vote, and if that happens I don’t see Brendan and Sierra not follow their alliance as Tyson is a threat for them. Tyson has to win individual immunity. And he’ll have to do it pretty much every single time right now if he wants to survive. That or break the alliance. Which he could, as previously shown, he seems to be the only one in Timbira that suspects something.
Still, his future in Survivor doesn’t seem to bright right now.

Next week: The merge will be very interesting.
Coach and Tyson will want to take JT out (unless Coach decides that the weaker ones must go first, blah blah blah). Debra will follow, Erinn will or will not flip sides (it doesn’t really matter, does it?). Bredan and Sierra will most likely have to unveil their secret alliance.
Jalapao will most likely target Tyson if he doesn’t have immunity who will sadly go home will the help of Bredan and Sierra.
In any case, I don’t really see the secret alliance staying secret any longer.
The question is: what will be the reaction of those not in the loop? Will the leftovers for both tribes (Joe, Erinn, Coach, Tyson, Debra) unite to counter it? Will it be of any use as one of those will most likely be voted out before the secret alliance is revealed and as such they will be only four?
Will JT ask for Stephen’s idol knowing he’s a target? Will Stephen give him? What will the consequences be?
Lots of uncertainty for the next episodes, but that’s a good thing as one thing that is almost sure is that we won’t see one tribe picking out members of the weaker tribe one by one in a boring and predictable way as it can happen.

Scorecard: 0/1
Oh wait, did I forget to predict an ouster last time? Damn, I would have said Sydney… Too bad…

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