If there is one thing that you can always count on in Survivor, it’s that the team with the numbers advantage is never going to be gracious in victory. You’ve seen it before, many, many times. On the one hand, people may think this type of thing is boring. Nobody really wants to watch a bunch of people gloat their way to the finish. On the other hand, there is always a pretty good chance that the strong alliance is somehow going to blow it’s advantage and some of the cocky bastards get sent home. These are the essential parts of the show that lead to great moments in the last episode with the jury and all future reunion shows.To tell you the truth, the guys of Lopevi did have it coming to them. By fixating on voting off all of the younger guys, Sarge, Chad, and Chris had themselves believing they were in command of the game. They were so sure about their numbers, they voted off a guy right before the merge. Rory came back during the merge and properly warned them about Ami, but the former Lopevi didn’t do a good enough job of securing their female votes, and so the purge began. Once again, Julie pulled off a brilliant strategy move by telling Twila that she was not the only one that the guys offered a final four deal. When Twila never called her on that bluff by checking back with the guys, it opened up the door for the situation we have today.
Now, in a perfect Survivor world, all hope would not be lost. Anybody who is enough of a schemer should realize that there is a chance to divide and conquer. The problem is that there is a decidedly unschemerish attitude among the Lopevi. Sarge has not come to grips with his new minority status in the game, and is constantly fixated on the estrogen level in the camp, as if giving them all testosterone and having a hairy chested Julie and baritone Eliza is going to make anything better. Chad seems like a nice enough guy, but if he is going to get himself out of this hole he has to pull a Charla and exploit his handicap differently abledness. Scout has had cancer and a knee replacement, LeAnn is missing a kidney. You would think one of them would relate to Chad. I sometimes think Chris is a schemer, because he did pull a little magic the first week staying off the chopping block despite being unable to beat Scout in a challenge. I think Chad is a little too preoccupied in keeping his golden locks free of split ends than he is of trying to shake up the current situation.
The reward challenge is typical of what we are going to see now that the tribes have merged. This one involved a quiz about Vanuatu culture. Every time a tribe member answered their question correctly, they got a chance to light a (coconut) skull of another tribe member. Each tribe member had three skulls, and when all three skulls were lit, that person had to sit out. These challenges are boring to watch, but do show us a little bit about the game, particularly the pecking order as to how the current tribe sees everybody else. All three of the guys were eliminated first, as was to be expected. Sarge was quite pissed at what has become a battle of the sexes. And nobody could see that coming, unless you saw how the tribes were separated by sex the VERY FIRST WEEK. Is Sarge’s fantasy, he believes that the women should treat all of the guys as equals, with an equal shot at advancing in the game, as if he was planning on letting any of the women break into his final three.
There weren’t too many interesting questions in this game, except when Jeff asked if it was true that the people of Vanuatu drink hot magma to cleanse spirits. Julie, Leann, and Eliza all said yes, leading me to wonder how these girls thought they would collect the lava, and second, what type of container the people of vanuatu fashioned to store this lava. More revealing was the order as to which the women were eliminated. Eliza was first, and was not happy at all, especially since it was Scout that torched her last skull. After Eliza came Julie, then Scout and Ami. In a battle of wits between LeAnn and Twila, Leann came out on top. The reward was private helicopter trip over the jungle canopy and a picnic lunch of champagne and chicken wings by a dormant volcano. We all expected LeAnn to take Ami, who I think is her strongest Ally, but instead she made a smart move and took Julie. She used that time to firm up Julie’s stance among the women remaining. LeAnn confessed that she was’t that fond of Scout and neither was that worried about Eliza going too far. They talked about the final four, which leads me to believe their plan is to have Ami and Twila join with them.
At the camp, Eliza was still seething and Scout was doing a great job at being passive agressive and condescending, telling Eliza that they had to get rid of her first, because you are supposed to get rid of smart players first. Scout may get some sympathy votes from a lot of viewers out there, but I think she has coasted along without doing much of anything that would deserve fan support. Too bad there isn’t some phantom beef jerky to take somebody down when you need to. The guys saw that open hostility towards Eliza and decided to play it towards their advantage. Unfortunately instead of trying to figure out how to make Eliza part of their group, they thought it would be smart to try and sabotage Eliza’s chances with the women, a sort of addition by subtraction ploy. While the men were scheming on the outrigger, LeAnn and Julie came back from their picnic with a couple of chicken wings for anybody else who had ovaries. That’s right, they brought back only enough for the women. It’s not enough for these womens to take stabs at the men, they have to salt their wounds and rub it in as well.
As the women came back from the woods(they ate their wings in the woods so they guys wouldn’t see them from the water) and saw the guys had returned, Julie and LeAnn produced a bag of chicken bones with little scraps of meat and cartilage. Yes, the best parts of survivor. To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the men! The men picked at the scraps of meat like the little dogs they have become, in what is sure to be an embarrassing moment when they see it on TV.
It wouldn’t be Survivor unless Mark Burnnett tried a silly twist, and this time was no different. When Eliza went to get the tree mail about the immunity challenge, she found that the producers had left a pig. When she finally got it back to camp, Twila and Sarge were ready to kill it on the spot and have some ribs. Unfortunately, they were instructed that they had to keep the pig safe and if they did so, they would be rewarded. And like that, it was gone, we didn’t hear any reason for keeping the pig the rest of the episode.
The only hope the men have these days is to win immunity challenges. As long as that is some sort of physical challenge, they seem to have an advantage over the women, although Ami, Julie, and Eliza are threats. In a battle of the minds, all bets are off, and none of these guys seem to have a chance. That was the case in this challenge, which required everybody take a look at a puzzle jeff had in his hands, and try and replicate the puzzle on the board in front of them. It was basically a matter of flipping over some pieces to match the colors on Jeff’s board. If you were hoping the men would put up a fight, you were sorely disappointed, as they all were eliminated on the first puzzle. With that suspense gone, the only thing left would be to see if Eliza could win immunity since her status was still up in the air. In the end, it was Ami who won. She said she was almost reluctant to win because she is already seen as a big threat, but I don’t think any of the women have the chops to go up against her. If and when she is eliminated, it is going to be interesting to see who is going to pull it off.
The men continued to work on their plan to save themselves by pushing the plan to get rid of Eliza. The problem is that they pushed the plan to the wrong person, namely Scout, who doesn’t have any sort of sway to what direction the rest of the women are going to vote. Eliza took the chance to talk to Ami when she saw Scout plotting with the men, and you know how Ami takes to dissenting opinions. The other part of the guy’s strategy was to get pissed at Twila, which served the purpose of alienating Twila from her position. Near the end, Chad finally figured it out that if they got Twila and Eliza to vote, they could get rid of whoever they wanted to. But after yelling at Twila and being seen scheming with Scout, there was little chance that was going to happen.
During tribal council, Jeff took the chance to let some of the backstabbing come forth, and everybody took advantage of that. Sarge took particular pleasure in calling Julie out for her big lie to the rest of the tribe. The voting was kind of strange, because their were three different names picked, which means that there was at least one person that either didn’t get the memo, or decided to go off on their own. That vote turned out to be from Chris, who went against his alliance and voted for Sarge, aligning himself with the women’s side. It could be seen as a smart move, but there is no way for him to verify that he voted for Sarge, and I am pretty sure the women will see him voting for Sarge as a pretty transparent attempt to gain favor. Chris just doesn’t have the looks to get any of the women to swoon over anything he has planned.
It looks like the final few rounds are being drawn. Starting with Sarge, everybody leaving the island will be part of the jury, so we get to turn our speculation over what sort of votes the jury is going to place among the players still remaining. Jeff still mentioned that anything can happen, and immunity challenges will help level the playing field, but excuse me if I am skeptical anybody can withstand Ami’s dominance.