I’m never too sure about merge episodes.
On the one hand, I always feel that the game really begins with the merge. On the other ones, this episode is usually quite predictable (as well as the two-three following ones on the bad seasons).
This year, with two tribes that have no “tribe spirit” we have not one, not two, but three cross-tribe alliances right after the merge!
Of course, not all of them will hold (wait, the Erinn-Joe one is already gone), and people will betray people, and by people I mean J.T. and Stephen as they ended up on two alliances, they may not even be sure how…Brendan: Was he really gonna get voted out (if Joe hadn’t been evacuated for injury?) or was it misdirection from the editing room? It kinda seems that Taj and Stephen were really believing he was not on board with them anymore, and that they were really ready to go with Brendan’s former tribesmate and give him the boot. Talk about no tribe loyalty this year! How many minutes after the merge did it take for Tyson and Coach to recruit JT and possibly Stephen to vote Brendan off? One thing that is strange is how much they seem to dislike him. Seeing a big thread in him is one thing, but I almost feel hatred from Tyson and Coach towards him now, and nothing from what we saw seems to justify this. Unless, Tyson and Coach have really figured out that Brendan is allied with Taj… Not sure.
In any case, Brendan has to play his cards perfectly now (and that means talking to Taj and Stephen to reassure them and “rekindle” their alliance as soon as possible) or else, the scenario we thought was gonna happen last week will happen this week. From the preview, it seems that Brendan will do just that though and save his ass.
Coach: Actually I’m surprised that he started to play the game so hard now that the merge has happened. He’s playing terribly (like trusting JT is about 2 seconds) but still, his plan (or rather Tyson’s) to oust Brendan almost worked. What’s his future? Either he succeeds in ousting Brendan real soon and he could actually end up in a good spot, or he’s next. If we’re to believe the preview, he’s next. So he’s not… Still, I can’t imagine him being final four.
Debra: So, she has an alliance with Coach and Tyson. But that’s not the kind of alliance where she calls any shot at all. Too bad she’s doing some typical coattail riding, even though her good spirited nature makes her being liked by everybody. What’s her future? Either Coach and Tyson succeed in their alliance with JT and Stephen (which I doubt more and more will happen) and she could go a long way, surprising a few people by the end. But if she makes the finale, she still has no chance to win because of the coattail riding thing. Either Coach and Tyson’s alliance fails and she could be the next to go after both of them.
Erinn: She had a secret alliance (that wouldn’t really bring her too far) with Joe, and just like that it’s gone. Now, she’s totally alone in this game. I really doubt she’ll be/want to be included in the Coach/Tyson thing, and the other ones don’t need her so far. She may still have a few cards to play in this game as she won’t be targeted for the next two, maybe three votes, and sooner or later, because of her position, she can be a swing vote. But after that swing vote, she’ll be expandable unless she managed to make some serious friends among the remaining Jalapao members (which I doubt she will).
Joe: Joe’s got injured, Joe had to live the game. It may have saved Brendan, but didn’t change anything ultimately as I’m pretty convinced he’d be voted out either that vote or the next. Joe will certainly stay in Survivor’s history as one of the least memorable guy who played the game (and not just because he ended up in the same season as Coach, Tyson, JT and Stephen).
JT: The fact that JT was so quick to ally himself with Coach and Tyson makes me think that Stephen and Taj haven’t really told him about Brendan and Sierra. Not good. But thanks to Joe’s departure, I think Stephen will think twice and inform TJ about it. In any case, he still won’t be a target it seems (except if he defects from Coach/Tyson to obviously and they decide to retaliate). He’s an extremely good spot right now. Usually, his type is the one that’s being targeted from everywhere at this point in the game, but JT no, for JT, at this point in the game, it seems that everyone wants him, if he wins a couple of immunities on top of that, he could be final three, or two, or winning the whole thing, just like that.
Sierra: We haven’t seen much of her last week. Coach and Sierra obviously want her out, but she can survive this, even if Brendan doesn’t. Now, where will she go if the “exile alliance” disappear? I’m not sure, but she still may stay with Stephen and Taj, providing they stay together.
Stephen: He’s in a pretty good position too. He has his exile alliance, Coach and Tyson want him too, he also has the ability to win a couple of immunities. He could have a similar destiny as the one TJ can have. My question is actually how long these two will stay together. If they do, they can easily be part of the final three. But will they? I don’t see why not, but still, I have a bad feeling about this.
Taj: Not much of Taj this week, except for the fact she’s getting paranoid. Sure, Brendan hasn’t talked to her, but has she talked to him? Feels like when two best friends had a fight and none of them wants to apologize first. And they didn’t even fight. They should clear this up soon, or else, Taj won’t last long at all.
Tyson: His attempt to oust Brendan seemed like trying too hard to me. Sure, ousting Brendan is his best option right now (even though, I’d be him, I’d try to oust TJ first), but allying so quickly with some old Jalapao member is a bit strange to me. So unless there’s a hidden agenda behind, his strategy may not be as good as I thought.
One last thing about Tyson. I’m still not sure what’s the deal with him. Sure, I always say that if I was on Survivor, I’d be as nice as possible with as many people as possible, but during my individual interview, I’d trash as many people as possible just for kicks. Which is exactly what he’s doing. But I still can’t read him totally, is he really joking when he’s no nasty with those people behind their back? Or is he sincere? In any case, he’s extremely funny, but sometimes I can’t help to think “what if he means all what he says?”
Next week: Things will get quite unpredictable from now on. Let’s see our options:
The plan hatched last week will be put into action, and Brendan will be targeted.
Either he’s not aware of it, and he’s out.
Or he’s aware of it and he’ll use his hidden immunity.
But if he’s targeted, Stephen will most likely be one of the ones that try to oust him, and just like last week, he’ll know about the idol, and will split his votes and Sierra may be out.
Or, the “exile alliance” finally gets together and targets either Coach or Tyson, which require JT to accept to betray them…
Will Erinn be a pivotal vote this week?
I’m not sure, but I have the feeling that we may be facing one of the craziest episode ever with a totally unpredictable outcome.