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Welcome to episode six of the Survivor Mutiny Manifest, where each week we will be breaking down strategies both old and new, and trying to determine who is playing the game well, who is just along for the ride, who is making alliances, and who is out in the cold by themselves. In my opinion, this has been a pretty ho-hum season of Survivor. There are some interesting castaways, but there are no Johnny Fairplays, Shanes, or Richard Hatches to make it more interesting. Just sitting here without any Survivor cues in front of me, I can hardly remember anyone’s name without possibly ruining my forehead with wrinkles. Jonathan? He might prove to be vaguely villainous. Adam? No, he’s too much of a big lug to really be considered evil. Cao Boi? Nah, he’s too much of a caricature to be a bad guy. Parvati? Maybe. She’s definitely got a catty side to her, not that we’ve seen much of it. Maybe an evil entity will present itself once we make it to the merge. Until then, we’ll just have to settle for this mostly vanilla season.

This past episode was the kind of episode that leaves you wanting. Not wanting much, but wanting nonetheless. There was only one challenge this past week, but there was a kidnapping and torches snuffed from both tribes. Not a lot of action, challengewise…well, I take that back because the one challenge did have a lot of action in it…lots of girl on girl action at that. But it wasn’t the type of challenge that leaves a guy that’s trying to talk strategy drooling. It was more physical than mental, more brawn than strategy. But there was a lot of talk amongst the castaways of both tribes, even though most of it was crazy talk by Cao Boi. Then again, is there any other kind of talk coming out of Cao Boi’s mouth? Anyway, let us get to the meat of this article and find out who is wheeling, who is dealing, and of course, who is reeling.

Aitu
The Aitu tribe had a good episode this week. Yeah, they had to vote someone off, but both tribes did, so they still have a one man advantage. However, Aitu did get to eat a hot meal that isn’t fish, sit in on Raro’s Tribal Council to take some notes, and kidnap one of Raro’s stronger members away for the next reward challenge. They really owe their good fortunes this week to Candice. Yes, Candice, the least conniving, likely sweetest castaway out there. And she proved her worth by getting physical. At this week’s reward challenge, Candice scrapped, scraped, and generally gave hell to the girls of Raro by hanging onto her pole for dear life. At one point I remember thinking “Geesh! They’d have an easier time if they just uprooted her pole.” Once the Raro chicks had pulled Candice off of her pole, she dug her claws into the sand and pulled herself back to it. Who knew she had it in her? After that performance, which basically won the challenge for Aitu, there was no way she was going home that night. Not only did she feed her tribe, but she paved the way for them to eliminate some of the flotsam around camp, but still learn a lot of information about their opponents.

Strategywise, there seemed to be only one Aituan thinking about the game and the probable upcoming merge--Cao Boi. He seems to still be keeping track of how all of the original tribes are doing, and is the only Asian castaway to notice that Jonathan is forming alliances, and still has his entire original tribe in the Cook Islands. His Asian tribe is still whole, too, but Cao Boi knows he doesn’t fully fit in with the others. So, instead of trying to build new alliances within a tribe that has mostly shunned him, Cao Boi came up with a plan by interpreting his dreams--Plan Voodoo. The lady in his dream kept telling him “You need 3 of this, and 3 of that.” What does that mean? Well, to you and me it means Cao Boi needs a more interesting life, but to him it means he needs to get 3 people to vote for Jonathan, and 3 people to vote for Candice so they can either smoke out the hidden immunity idol, or in the very least eliminate one of the original Raro tribe members. Cao Boi believes that either Jonathan or Candice have the hidden idol, since they have both been to Exile Island, with Jonathan having gone twice. There is one thing to say about Cao Boi’s plan--at least he’s thinking. But he doesn’t think about how annoying he is and how much his original tribe doesn’t need him. . He can also see that the original Raro tribe still has all 5 members alive, and could very well take over the game at the merge. The problem with Cao Boi’s plan was that he only really has one ally.—Flica. That, and the fact that Yul is the one holding the immunity idol, and he’s got a strong alliance with Jonathan, Becky, Candice, and likely Sundra. While Cao Boi pitched his plan to Yul and the others, they were all secretly laughing at him behind his back. Yul felt extra confident with the idol in his back pocket, and the others all secretly longed to be rid of the always laughing, always yakking Cao Boi.

The only person that isn’t really associated with anyone else is Ozzy, and luckily for him he has a “buffer” thanks to Flica. Since she showed loyalty to Cao Boi, she is surely now on the shortlist of torches to be snuffed should Aitu lose a challenge. Plus Ozzy gets the food and can swim like a dolphin. Ozzy is in a unique position. He is, and always has been, an alliance unto himself. He looks out for himself, and that’s it. Once the merge happens, though, you’d think it might be dangerous to be a solo player. On the contrary, Ozzy could easily flip to another alliance post merge and help that alliance pick off the stronger members of any other alliance one by one. Plus, I figure Ozzy to win himself at least a few individual immunities. All he has to do is find out who needs his vote each week, and vote with the majority. It’s a winning strategy.


Raro
When compared to Aitu, Raro had a terrible time this episode, and it was non-stop from the beginning of the show. When the tribe returned from Tribal Council with Cristina fully aware of the animosity toward her and her actions, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Nobody likes to hear that people think they are annoying, and Cristina was no different. She immediately took issue with the things Adam and Jenny said about her to Jeff, and made the mood around camp even gloomier. Her only option was the possibility of winning the next immunity challenge and wrapping herself in the safety of not going to Tribal Council. Did you see the look on her face when Jeff announced that both tribes would be going to council that night? Yeah, that said it all. She knew her tribe had had enough of her, and even her shallow attempts at bargaining after this weeks challenge seemed like mostly a show.

Other than Cristina, Raro seems like a pretty tight tribe. They all mostly get along, each member contributes around camp, and they all work well together in the challenges. Losing Nate to Aitu via a mutinous kidnapping at Tribal Council is really going to hurt. Not only did Aitu feed a very hungry castaway, they are going to be able to work him for information on the alliances over at Raro. Plus they can establish a relationship with Nate well before the merge happens, and plant seeds of a longer stay if he votes with them after the merge. The members of Raro who don’t have any strong relationships already with members of Aitu are likely to be the ones that have their torches snuffed sooner than later. Yeah, I’m looking at you Jenny and Rebecca.


Well, That Didn’t Work (Double Duty Remix)
This week we were treated to a double snuffing…Cao Boi’s torch from Aitu, and Cristina’s torch from Raro. First off, Cao Boi. To me it was obvious that Cao Boi wasn’t your typical castaway, who is usually a fan of the show and really wants to play the game for a million dollars. It was clear that Cao Boi was one of the castaways that was recruited for the simple fact that he is Asian and somewhat of a character. This guy was marked for snuffing from the get go. That said, it seems like he was the only one that is thinking about the numbers, even though he never had them. There are numerous ways the past and present alliances can shake out in the future, and Yul was right to believe that Cao Boi was never solid with the Asian tribe in the first place. Instead, Cao Boi was seeking out alliances with other misfits like himself, and if he was able to stick around until the merge, he might just have put together a formidable crew. It really was his time to go.

On the other hand, Cristina was just annoying and not well liked within her tribe. She was bossy and simply didn’t fit in with the others. Quite frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t go before Stephannie, who was at least upbeat and trying hard to get along with everyone. Instead, we were treated to another episode of animosity amongst the Raro tribe, and another throwaway snuffing. Cristina really had no strategy beyond bossing everyone around and then begging them to spare her, so you knew her time would come sooner than later. I can’t say I’ll miss her.


Looking forward to the merge! mrdobolina@fansofrealitytv.com