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Survivor: Cook Islands Mutiny Manifest (11/2/06) – All About Aitu!

Welcome to this weeks Mutiny Manifest, where each week we will break down alliances, strategies, strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know exactly what anyone on either tribe is thinking, but it sure is fun to speculate, pontificate, and generally be snarky. As always, I take everything from the show itself…no spoilers or any of the extra materials, other than last week’s extra footage. Actually, that revealed very little, strategy-wise, so no worries there. Anyway, let’s find out who is wheeling, who is dealing, and of course, who is reeling.

If you haven’t already gathered from the title of this week’s article, this past episode really only featured the goings on over at Aitu Beach. Yes, we saw a little bit of what was going on in the Raro tribe, but it was mostly inconsequential to what we got to see of Aitu. Seriously, don’t the editors realize I’m trying to write a balanced article here? I guess not, as this episode was all about Aitu. First, the tribe opened the show since they had kidnapped Nate from Raro at the previous Tribal Council, so of course the editors are going to show Nate’s experience while on Aitu Beach. Next, they won the reward easily, and we got to hang out with them while they ate their peanut butter and discussed Ozzy’s phenomenal food gathering skills. Then they lost the immunity challenge, so we got to see the scheming and plotting that led up to Tribal Council. Maybe it’s just me, but man, that was just a little too much Ozzy!!

What did this tribe do during this episode besides compete in challenges? Well, for one thing Nate got to hang around Aitu’s camp and witness the bickering and infighting that sometimes happens when you have a divided group. He got an earful of Jessica’s unhappiness at not being in the loop regarding the snuffing of Cao Boi’s torch. Then he got to observe from the sidelines as Rebecca struggled to swim in the reward challenge while Brad sat on shore, useless for his puzzle skills. Nate was really chagrined with Brad’s decision to not swim and instead hold off to put the puzzle together, especially since Raro lost so badly they didn’t even start on the puzzle before Aitu had claimed their reward. Back at camp, Nate let the entire tribe know how disappointed he was in Brad. In front of everyone, Nate attacked Brad’s decision to not swim, and generally put a target on Brad’s back in the case that Raro didn’t win the next immunity challenge. It was Brad that started the process, though, even before the reward challenge. He bickered with the others about which items to pick from the reward catalog (each team could pick two items from the catalog, and if they won reward, the tribe would get the items they picked), insisting that it would be smarter to get peanut butter and potatoes instead of peanut butter and bread. His logic was that the potatoes would last longer and provide the tribe with more energy than the bread would. He may have been right, but why would you argue with the majority? It only makes people resent you and think about voting you off. Come on now, Brad, you’re smarter than that! Luckily for Brad, Jenny’s puzzle solving kung fu was perfect, and Raro was able to come back from way behind and win immunity.

Aitu was a tribe poised to send a majority into the merge. Inside of the tribe, there is already a major alliance of Jonathan, Yul, Becky, and Candice who can, if they want to, control the game and get themselves to the final four. But Yul seems too wishy washy, and is unable to recognize the alliance for what it is--strong and powerful. Sure, they are not yet a majority if you merged the two tribes right now, but with two original Raros and two original Pukas, they should be able to pull in other former members of the two tribes quite easily. Let’s dust for prints. First of all, they made a smart move by bringing Sundra into the fold, since she was by herself when she joined Aitu. Next, Candice pretty much has Adam in her back pocket—if Adam makes it to the merge. It is possible that Raro will see him as a physical threat and vote him out before a merge can occur, but Adam feels pretty safe to me. Then you have Yul and Becky’s two former tribemates, Jenny and Brad, who might be easy to rope into voting the way that this alliance wants them to. Of those two, I would think Jenny would be the surer bet, since Brad might be the next Raro to go home if they lose immunity. Finally, there are the Ozzy and Parvati factors. Either one of these two could easily be a swing vote come the merge (and I do expect both of them to make the merge—Ozzy because Yul seems too focused on Jonathan and Sundra, and Parvati because, well, she’s eye candy for Nate and Adam, and they’ll just vote Brad off the second they have a chance). Obviously, this is all speculation and until the merge I can’t really say what the order of departure is going to be, but when the merge does happen, I think the boot order may very well become easy to predict.

“What about Yul’s plan to get rid of either Jonathan or Sundra before the merge” you ask? Well, honestly, I don’t think he could afford to get rid of Jonathan before the merge. Sundra, maybe…but only if he knows he can rely on a current member of Raro to take Jon’s or Sundra’s place in his alliance. Jonathan is starting to shape up to be this years “bad-guy-who-someone-might-want-to-bring-to-the-final-two.” Nobody trusts him, and he’s the only one who I have heard multiple people decry as playing the game too hard. He is also the guy who has manipulated others into voting his way by threatening to go against them later. Plus, he is really the brains behind his current alliance and seems to be thinking 3 moves ahead at all times. Yul can’t afford to lose Jonathan…no way. Yes, Yul has the immunity idol, and is looking good through the final four, but I’m sure everyone sees the tall, lanky, and chiseled Asian guy as a physical threat, and the second he doesn’t win immunity, people will be gunning for him. He’ll either have Jonathan in his corner getting others focused on another castaway to prevent him from having to use the immunity idol, or he’ll have to actually use the idol to save his butt, and then he’s surrendered his safety net and will be considered an even bigger threat.

I’m sure to be wrong about most of these predictions, since I tend to favor the stronger players. All too often it is floaters and under the radar players that make it to the end because the strong players try to keep them around to make it easier to win challenges later in the game. They eventually pick each other off, and the floaters are always left to win the million dollars. Once, just once I would like to see an alliance of strong players that don’t stab each other in the back and work to eliminate the under the radar players while deciding that in the end, it’s every person for themselves, may the best player win.

I Guess That Didn’t Work
Did anyone believe Jessica/Flica had a chance at Tribal Council after she was the only person to stick with Cao Boi last week? Jessica’s first mistake after Cao Boi left was to complain about being out of the loop with the tribe openly in front of Nate. That alone instantly marked her for a torch snuffing, even if she had performed stellar-ly at both challenges, brought all the firewood to camp, and caught a bunch of fish. Her second mistake—okay, maybe it was her first mistake, since it happened long ago after the tribe shuffle—was not attaching herself to Jonathan’s alliance without question when she was asked to. Instead, she wanted to try and be nice in the game and vote against the majority, and only hesitatingly voted with the other to save her skin. She tried to be a floater when the water was already full of floaters. Instead, Flica is heading to loser lodge, where she can put on her roller skates, don her roller derby outfit, and form the new Loser Lodge Roller Derby League.

Acting commissioner for the LLRDL: mrdobolina@fansofrealitytv.com